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Innovative benefits management: 3 examples

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

When it comes to productivity and employee retention, it pays to create new ways to keep your employees happy. Here are three examples of small companies that keep business humming along:

1. Promise a company vacation

Employees of Canada’s Great Little Box Co. have a daily incentive to meet their goals: a trip on the company’s dollar. After the budget is done and if the company meets its profit goal, everyone goes on a trip.

The company started the BOX goal — Big Outrageous eXtravaganza — 15 years ago, and has since taken two trips to Las Vegas and five to Mexico. In May, about 160 of the 180 employees vacationed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for five days. The company paid for air fare, hotel and food.

The trips reinforce strong camaraderie and create a good working atmosphere.

2. Deliver lower insurance premiums

Kenduskeag, Maine-based Northeastern Log Homes is helping employees change unhealthy and unsafe behaviors. The reward: The company trims insurance premiums by 25 percent.

The company’s Healthy Lifestyles Program, which promotes exercise and health management, is administered by a local hospital. Each employee can meet with a health coach (on company time) to assess health risks and devise a plan to replace risky behaviors. The hospital tracks employees’ progress as they participate in group hikes, other exercises and educational seminars on stress management and healthy eating.

Married employees can save $30 a week on health care premiums, and singles can save $11. About 80 percent of the company’s employees participate.

3. Make homemade ‘coupons’

Design and Image owner Deborah Williams can’t afford to give big holiday bonuses to her eight employees, so she hands out coupons redeemable for work/ life balance during the year.

One coupon provides a “creative day off”; another offers a “Get out of work well” day off. Other coupons entitle bearers to come to work late one day or leave as early as 3 p.m.

One year, the firm’s computer guru collected $700 worth of coupons from colleagues. Redeeming the coupons costs the company about $3,300 per employee, including lost revenue on the extra days off. But Williams says it’s easy to pay.

“It’s not cash out of your pocket, except for reimbursing lunch,” says Williams.

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