There are all sorts of ways to keep employees happy beyond just giving them a paycheck. Some workplaces offer their employees a discount on the products they sell. Others might want to help subsidize the cost of dealing with the Washington area’s bearish commute or cover the expense of continuing education. Still others get even more creative, and their perks become virtual extensions of their brand. What follows is a sample.
When an employee at Rand Construction runs into unexpected financial trouble, the company offers interest-free loans that can total up to $5,000.
“All they have to do is walk into my office and say they need help, and they walk out with a check,” said founding chief executive Linda Rabbitt.
Rabbitt doesn’t even ask what the money is for.
How’d she get the idea? Rabbit says borrowing money in the early days of the company allowed it to become what it is today.
Rabbitt founded Rand as a small firm in Arlington in 1989 with just seven employees. Rabbitt steadily built the company, one of the few woman-owned commercial construction firms in the D.C. area, around ground-up construction projects and historic renovation work. Today, Rand pulls in about $300 million a year in revenue.
“When I started [Rand Construction] I didn’t have any money and somebody lent me some,” Rabbitt said. “You never forget the people that help you when you need it the most.”
For four years running, Rockville-based IT company DigitaliBiz picks 11 of its top performers from across the company and gives them an all-expenses-paid vacation. This year’s winners went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The company’s executive leadership team sorts through dozens of nominations before announcing the winners at the company’s holiday party.
“Our folks work hard, but we try to take care of them as well,” said Wayne Porter, a corporate vice president at the company.
So far, nobody has won the honor more than once, and Porter says people work hard all year with the trip in mind.
“The people that have gone before are itching to go back,” he said. “As well as celebrating our people, it becomes an incentive.”
• At Great American Restaurants, eating out is part of the job, for managers at least. The company’s “House Check” program gives managers $100 each month to have dinner at one of the company’s locations. The idea is to let managers point out shortcomings in their colleagues’ way of running things while also learning from the good things they do — all on the company’s dime.
• At the family-owned real estate firm Willco, lunch is always on the house. The company has catered lunches in the kitchen three days a week where most of the company’s 55 employees get together. And dessert is included, too: The company has a frozen yogurt machine in the kitchen that employees can use whenever they want.
• Bethesda County Club offers complementary meals five days a week for all employees.
• Top-performing sales representatives at Cvent get an all-inclusive trip to Mexico each year, and AOC Solutions has sponsored cruises for employees.
• At the U.S. Travel Association, employees who use all of their vacation days get entered into a company-wide raffle in which five winners get $1,500 prizes.
• Academic Travel Abroad, which handles study-abroad programs for college students, makes a point of giving the newcomers time off: All employees get five weeks of vacation a year from day one.
• At Mark G. Anderson Consultants, employees who reach their 10th year at the company get a fully paid trip for two to one of the Seven Wonders of the World — a destination that the employee gets to help define.
• Numerous companies on the Top Workplaces list will subsidize your transportation, including technology company TCG, the Consumer Technology Association and National Cooperative Bank.
• Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, a nonprofit that staffs mental-health hotlines, among other services, pays for employees’ car detailing when they use their vehicle for work.
• At Rand Construction, all “field staff” get a brand new F-150 pickup truck after five years at the company.
• At Great American Restaurants, those who manage to rise in the ranks to become managing partner get $12,000 a year for a new BMW or Lexus, meant to cover all the costs associated with the car.
• Numerous companies offer both maternity and paternity leave for new parents, including BuckleySandler and Stratus Solutions.
• To include families of all sorts, the Container Store makes a point of offering domestic partner benefits.
• Thinking of adopting? CA Technologies has an adoption-assistance program, and Integrity Applications Inc. even covers infertility benefits.
• Research center operator Mitre Corp. makes a specific point of accommodating transgender employees in its benefits package. The company’s medical benefits plan explicitly covers gender reassignment surgery, as well as different types of support before, during and after an employee’s transition.
•Intelligenesis, a Columbia-based technology contractor, gives employees a $1,000 “technology budget” to spend on whatever technology they want or need.
•ESAC, a software company based in Rockville, will pay for your laptop when you come on board.
•TCG, a District-based software company, covers employees’ cellphone and Internet costs.
•Rather than have a scripted set of benefits for the whole company, FTS International lets employees decide. Each employee gets a “self-directed benefit account” to design their own package of benefits.
•Dulles-based consulting company Infinitive has a corporate membership at Top Golf, a driving range in Loudoun County, that all its employees can use at no cost.
•It isn’t so easy to buy a home these days, but some companies will help you do it. Seattle-based real estate company Redfin, which has an office in the D.C. area, gives employees a 20 percent discount on their home when they buy through the Redfin’s online real estate listing. Bozzuto also has a home buyer’s discount, which pays up to $30,000 depending on the price of the home.
•If you don’t use all your time off, Rockville-based software company ESAC will give you a bonus for your hard work.
Bonuses take on a decidedly different character when your job is to lobby Congress. At the American Health Care Association, which advocates on behalf of nursing homes and other health-care providers, annual bonuses are tied to how the organization wants to shape the nation’s laws and policies.
“The number one thing that sets us apart is we are both mission-driven and metrics-based,” said chief strategic officer Rae Anne Davis. “Lots of associations have their mission and live their mission, but we also set measurable goals.”
Half of each employee’s bonus depends on whether the organization as a whole pulls off at least 90 percent of a list of highly specific goals.
If legislation on Medicare-payment reform doesn’t pass in 2016 or the group grows its membership base by less than 8 percent, for example, it could cost the entire workforce half of its annual bonus. And 100 percent of chief executive Mark Parkinson’s bonus (the inducements were his idea) depends on the board being happy with the association’s progress.
Another health-care association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, has a similar program it calls “success-sharing” bonuses.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the American Health Care Association’s senior leadership. Mark Parkinson is chief executive, not Deborah Brown. This version has been updated.