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How Important Are Employee Perks To Your Workers?

CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 30: Team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks to the media prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena on October 30, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Unemployed people don’t just look for a job; they look for a job with benefits. Some form of healthcare is usually the most important, but with the Affordable Care Act, there is the possibility that companies will stop offering healthcare in the near future. Vacation packages, maternity leave, and number of sick days, are also a consideration for many job hunters.

Slave Labor Is Not Productive

During the early 1900s employers didn’t understand the relationship between an unhappy worker and levels of production. Most employers considered employees as slave labor. If you wanted your job, you’d work any hours, under any conditions that the boss required, or there were plenty of others willing to take your place.

As the United States economy began to grow employers discovered that good employees would leave for better opportunities, better pay and working conditions elsewhere. At the same time, wage and hour laws were enforced, employee-working conditions were more closely regulated, and healthcare coverage was added. But some companies offered even more.

Flexible Work Schedules

I became a Netflix customer last month. In researching the company I found they have no time clocks, or formal 9-5 work schedules. No one monitors employee hours. You can work, or not work, as you see fit. However, if the work assigned to you is not completed, you will become unemployed.

Weebly, is a web hosting company where you can make your own blog, web site or online store. Like Netflix, it also has no set employee work hours. Employees get their own credit cards to purchase anything they need during their workday that will make them more productive.  While employees are having free meals in the company cafeteria, or utilizing their free gym memberships, or bi-monthly massages the company put a $50 monthly payment to a housecleaning and errand running service. Where do I sign up?

Family and Medical Leave Act

Companies are required to give 12 weeks (3 Months) paid leave for the birth of a child under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Facebook takes that to a whole new level. New mom’s AND DAD’s get four months paid parental leave, reimbursement for day care and adoption fees, and $4,000 in spending cash after the birth of the child. Now that’s a pretty good employee perk.

After Work Freebies

If you are lucky enough to work at Quicken Loans in Cleveland you’ll get to see a lot of Cleveland Cavalier basketball games and music concerts. CEO Dan Gilbert (above), owner of the Cavs, gives employees free tickets and transportation to any event happening at the Quicken Loans Area.

Some Final Thoughts

I think it’s natural for business owners to assume that perks like these are unaffordable to Main Street mom and pop businesses. Not every business can have flexible hours or credit cards. But there are things you can afford that employees will appreciate. Good employees are worth their weight in gold. The minor costs of a few perks create amazing word of mouth and will attract more quality employees to your business. Please don’t discount the ratio between perks and productive work. In most cases the perks more than pay for themselves in better products and happier customers.

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