Ideas: Family-oriented Employee Benefits

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “CARE Packages for the Workplace–Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work” (McGraw-Hill, 1996)

The Idea:

Anytime the organization can help the employee to balance the demands of work and family, the reward will be happier, more productive employees, and everyone will win.

The Idea In Action:

The MetroWest section of the Chicago Tribune , August 9, 1995, contained an article about Fel-Pro, a manufacturer of gaskets, sealants, and lubricants for the auto and industrial markets. For eight weeks each summer the children of hundreds of Fel-Pro employees go to a company-sponsored day camp while their parents begin another day of work.

At the Skokie-based company the children board company-provided buses for the hour ride to the company-owned camp which has been in existence for the last 22 years. The camp is on 220 acres dotted with hills, nature trails, swimming pools, stocked lakes and facilities for golf, frisbee, and soccer. This summer 215 children attended the camp, and the facilities are also available to the 2000 company employees on weekends. The camp was started as a result of employee concerns about the lack of supervised, daily activities in the summer for school-aged children. David Weinberg, co-chairman of the company and a grandson of one of its founders, says, “Where we might have had an employee who was anxious or nervous (about their children), we now have an employee who can focus fully on his or her job.”

Fel-Pro has other child-oriented benefits as well: a program that starts before the child’s birth with on-site prenatal classes for parents; every employee’s child receives a $1,000 savings bond at birth payable on his or her 21st birthday; $5,000 to help defray adoption costs; on-site daycare; at-home sick child care; tutoring; college counseling; and $3,000 to help defray college costs. As a result, there is little turnover at Fel-Pro. David Weinberg believes if you treat your workers well and address their personal concerns, they will be happier and more productive, and the company will benefit as well. He says,”It’s so much more fun to come to work under these conditions!”

I recently received a letter from Gretchen Jaspering, the Director of Communications and External Relations for Mosby-Year Book, Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri. She writes:

As I sit here at work on a Sunday afternoon, I’m reminded of why I’m here as well as how fortunate I am to work for Mosby. I had to stay home with a sick child two days this week. Mosby allows us to use our sick days for our children and other sick family members. I didn’t have to come in today to make up the time, but I did anyway because I like my job at Mosby and feel like I owe it to the company. For me, the flexibility we provide to employees is a big part of providing the kind of spirited workplace you describe. 

Tips:

Although your organization may not be able to provide the extensive benefits of Fel-Pro, begin wherever you are able. Most importantly, ask your employees what THEY would like. At Fel-Pro most of the benefits have come from employee urging or a direct response to employee concerns.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at bglanz@barbaraglanz.com and www.barbaraglanz.com.

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