Fun Perks in Tough Times


For many companies, it’s time to tighten budgets like never before. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn your employees into robots. Mashable posts on what six successful companies are doing to keep employees happy. For just a snapshot, look at the great things Clif Bar is doing:

  • Free coffee
  • A $350 stipend to help cover the entry costs for races, events and competitions
  • A dog-friendly office
  • Clif Base Camp, a “competitively priced” daycare center that has capacity for 64 children up to 5 years of age
  • Concierge services, including on-site car washing and detailing, haircuts, laundry and dry cleaning — to support a healthy work-life balance. While not free, these services are convenient and efficient
  • Subsidized massage and chiropractic services on site
  • Alternative Transportation Rewards: Employees who commute on foot, by bike, on public transportation or in carpools can earn up to $960 a year in rewards. Employees earn points that can be redeemed for commuter checks, extra cash, Clif gear, massages and more
  • Cool Commute Incentives, the nation’s first-ever biodiesel incentive program for employees, rewards employees for biking, walking, carpooling, taking public transit and driving a hybrid or bio-diesel vehicle. Employees can get a $6,500 tax incentive for purchasing biodiesel, and up to $500 for the purchase of a commuter bike so long as they commute by bike at least twice per month.
  • Cool Home Incentives: Employees can receive up to $1,000 per year to make eco-home improvements — like installing Energy Star appliances, insulation installation, solar installations or energy-efficient windows — that will reduce waste and the use of fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable energies.
  • Flexible schedule: Clif Bar teammates get eight paid holidays, plus a paid week off between December 25 and January 1. Employees start with 15 days of paid time off, and that increases to 20 days the second year and 25 days the fifth year. Then there’s the 9/80 Schedule, whereby employees can work 80 hours in nine days and then get every other Friday off.
  • Sabbatical: After seven years at Clif Bar, employees can enjoy a six- to eight-week sabbatical.
  • Kali’s Kitchen: Founder Gary Erickson’s grandmother Kali inspired him to bake, and so Kali’s Kitchen works with regional farmers to source organic ingredients for affordable meals (a $6.50 price point is common).
  • Weekly breakfast meeting: Every week the company assembles for a company breakfast — bagels, fresh fruit, eggs, oatmeal, juice, bacon and sausage and more are served — and the team shares news and announcements and a consumer’s “letter of the week.”
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan, funded entirely by contributions from the company with no required employee contribution. Employees are automatically enrolled and become 100 percent vested after three years with the company or when they reach retirement age, whichever comes first.
  • Retirement: To help employees plan for retirement, the company adds financial literacy classes and a 401(K) savings plan with a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution for the first 5% of pay deferred.

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