Company Benefits



  • I know this is more of an HR task than an IT task, but they are asking everybody for input on possible benefits that employees would enjoy that might not be normally considered. Some of the benefits that we already have include:

    Some of the norm:

    • Insurance benefits (health, dental, vision, short & long term disability, PTO, etc.)
    • Anniversary bonuses
    • Christmas bonuses

    Along with some of the unusual but makes sense to our company:

    • Catered lunch on Mondays
    • Yearly boot allowance
    • Yearly coat/jacket allowance
    • Free hot chocolate/coffee in the break room
    • Free soda in the kitchen
    • Free popcorn in the afternoons
    • Free meat every once in a while (beef, pork, and chicken, no fish)

    One benefit that I have found is Booster, which is a mobile gas station that is currently in DFW and San Francisco. A company signs up, Booster comes out and pumps gas into your car while you are at work. Of course, you still have to pay for the gas that you take.

    What are some benefits that you enjoyed from current or past employers?


  • Service Provider

    I REALLY dislike bonuses. Those are not a benefit. That's a trojan horse benefit, looks nice on the surface but in reality is just a way to lower employee pay through trickery.



  • @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    Along with some of the unusual but makes sense to our company:

    • Yearly boot allowance
    • Yearly coat/jacket allowance

    Shouldn't that stuff be provided if it's required to do your job? (outside, steel toes for warehouse, etc)


  • Service Provider

    I mean some companies could be open and honest about how their bonuses screw employees and do it anyway. Bonuses don't technically exclude that. But has anyone, ever, worked at a company that was honest about how bonuses were self serving and screwed employees or do they do as always and act like they are a benefit, rather than a deficit? The very word "bonus" is misleading.


  • Service Provider

    @mattspeller said in Company Benefits:

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    Along with some of the unusual but makes sense to our company:

    • Yearly boot allowance
    • Yearly coat/jacket allowance

    Shouldn't that stuff be provided if it's required to do your job? (outside, steel toes for warehouse, etc)

    Should be, but not in the US. Bring your own supplies to do the job is extremely common. Even to the point of requiring cars and computers. It's ridiculous.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    @mattspeller said in Company Benefits:

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    Along with some of the unusual but makes sense to our company:

    • Yearly boot allowance
    • Yearly coat/jacket allowance

    Shouldn't that stuff be provided if it's required to do your job? (outside, steel toes for warehouse, etc)

    Should be, but not in the US. Bring your own supplies to do the job is extremely common. Even to the point of requiring cars and computers. It's ridiculous.

    Despite living within 20 miles of it and visiting often (albeit in my youth) I still find America to be a strange place regularly



  • Because we deal with food and need to have some control about what goes onto the cutting floor, this is more of a necessary item then something that can be done away with. Can't have jackets with bling or lace jackets, like denim jackets with the arm things.



  • @mattspeller said in Company Benefits:

    @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    @mattspeller said in Company Benefits:

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    Along with some of the unusual but makes sense to our company:

    • Yearly boot allowance
    • Yearly coat/jacket allowance

    Shouldn't that stuff be provided if it's required to do your job? (outside, steel toes for warehouse, etc)

    Should be, but not in the US. Bring your own supplies to do the job is extremely common. Even to the point of requiring cars and computers. It's ridiculous.

    Despite living within 20 miles of it and visiting often (albeit in my youth) I still find America to be a strange place regularly

    I've considered moving up there just to get away from some of the junk here in America. Wife wants snow, so that would be an added bonus.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    I mean some companies could be open and honest about how their bonuses screw employees and do it anyway. Bonuses don't technically exclude that. But has anyone, ever, worked at a company that was honest about how bonuses were self serving and screwed employees or do they do as always and act like they are a benefit, rather than a deficit? The very word "bonus" is misleading.

    They call it a bonus because we have a set salary/wage and the bonus is added on, depending on how the company did or how long you have worked at the company.



  • But, we're getting off topic. I'm looking for new benefits, not trying to fix America. Not one person can do that.


  • Service Provider

    I've worked at places with some extreme benefits. They can be nice. Often they are "ways to keep people working" in disguise, but that's not always a bad thing.

    One place that I worked had...

    • Fully stocked kitchen on every floor. Eat all you want, anytime. Loads of healthy food items and a few other things. It was much like having a mini-mart on every floor ready to go. Need a boiled egg, salad, sandwich, granola bar, candy bar, chips, milk, coffee, tea, nuts, toast, bagels or similar - always stocked and ready. Full time staff made sure it was clean and stocked all the time.
    • Private chef for lunches. Full restaurant with all you can eat and private chefs and short order cooks making anything that you want. No reason to every pay for food or go elsewhere to eat. Food was excellent and large variety.
    • Catered in dinner for any staff working past 7PM. Any reasonably local restaurant could be delivered in. Orders were taken around 7PM and you could eat at your desk, in the break room or wherever.
    • Hotels provided for anyone working after 9PM. No authorization needed. Work late, get a hotel. Just put in a ticket for your room and call the hotel to let them know that you were coming. Hotels were high end (the Hilton Garden Inn was literally the lowest level offered and that one was encouraged to not be used) and always provided breakfast.
    • iPads, laptops, any tech you would find useful was provided, no questions asked. Need something for work, just put in a ticket and it gets delivered to your office.
    • Shuttle drivers between sites. Only makes sense if you have more than one site. Need to get to another office, someone will run you over there, no need to drive, park or whatever.
    • Really nice desktops, chairs, monitors, whatever you want to make you productive.
    • Lots of quiet alternative work spaces like you see in Silicon Valley with benches, couches, little enclosures, etc.
    • Outdoor spaces for hanging out, eating, working, meetings, etc.

  • Service Provider

    @mattspeller said in Company Benefits:

    @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    @mattspeller said in Company Benefits:

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    Along with some of the unusual but makes sense to our company:

    • Yearly boot allowance
    • Yearly coat/jacket allowance

    Shouldn't that stuff be provided if it's required to do your job? (outside, steel toes for warehouse, etc)

    Should be, but not in the US. Bring your own supplies to do the job is extremely common. Even to the point of requiring cars and computers. It's ridiculous.

    Despite living within 20 miles of it and visiting often (albeit in my youth) I still find America to be a strange place regularly

    You should try actually living here!


  • Service Provider

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    I mean some companies could be open and honest about how their bonuses screw employees and do it anyway. Bonuses don't technically exclude that. But has anyone, ever, worked at a company that was honest about how bonuses were self serving and screwed employees or do they do as always and act like they are a benefit, rather than a deficit? The very word "bonus" is misleading.

    They call it a bonus because we have a set salary/wage and the bonus is added on, depending on how the company did or how long you have worked at the company.

    Right, see how that is just misleading? They artificially make set salaries so that they can call that other portion a bonus. That's all fake. The bonus is just part of the salary that you may or may not get and only get if you stay for a long time.

    That salary or wages are set is a corporate decision, not a law. They are only set so that they can screw people with bonuses and make it sound like they get more than they do.

    Bonuses cause you to either not be able to quit when you find another job or to do so you have to give up a large portion of your wages to do it. As an employer, it's one of the most vicious legal ways to trap employees.


  • Service Provider

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    But, we're getting off topic. I'm looking for new benefits, not trying to fix America. Not one person can do that.

    But any one company can not leverage that they are in America to take advantage of the system. That's something that any company can do that wants to.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    Catered in dinner for any staff working past 7PM. Any reasonably local restaurant could be delivered in. Orders were taken around 7PM and you could eat at your desk, in the break room or wherever.

    If we're working late into the night on a project or over the weekend, either the manager or HR will pay for the meal.


  • Service Provider

    Check out The Fallacy of Bonuses. I wrote that a full ten years ago! I got to witness how my FTE coworkers got ridiculously screwed on Wall St. because of the bonus system that made them feel like they would earn double what they actually did. Having been both an employee and an employer, I can tell you, no employer is unaware of the power that bonuses have - just most are unwilling to stoop to that level. I've turned down jobs because of bonuses before.


  • Service Provider

    Other good benefits...

    • Vacation time
    • Phone allowance
    • Flexible work time
    • Work from home


  • @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    Other good benefits...

    • Vacation time
    • Phone allowance
    • Flexible work time
    • Work from home

    Phone allowance was just announced to get people off of the company cell phone account so that IT doesn't have to spend it out of our budget and having to upgrade people when the newest iPhone comes out. All because they can't distinguish between wants and needs, like I'm trying to do with my 7-year old. But I digress. Then the backpedaled on the policy at the first sign of difficulty.


  • Vendor

    Base, plus growth structure - can it grow? Is there an org chart with clear steps to moving up and getting bumps in pay? Does everyone get 2% and stagnate till they leave?

    OTE Bonus. I get paid an extra multiplier based on my base pay based. Mine isn't actually tied to metrics (I prefer this) and is completely based on my boss's assessment of me doing my job. While there is an "On Target Earnings" nothing stops you from getting over 100%. While when accepting the offer I weighted the bonus at 50%, I will say "it's not virtual". The biggest way to see how real this is is go check with GlassDoor and existing employees who've been there 4-5 years.

    RSU (Restricted Stock Units)'s - If you keep getting these every year on a standard 2-5 (Depends on company and grant window) year vestment schedule, you eventually end up with a rather nice kicker. This also is really nice if your stock doubles within a given year (Well except for capital gains). The longer you stay the stickier these become, and the more a company likes you the more they will give you to "handcuff" you to the company. The more a company wants you to stay the more you get these (i know people with solid 7 figure piles). A decent 6 figure pile of this is nice and can be used in leverage with a company who wants to poach on you why they better give you a bigger base (or a bigger pile of them!).

    Education School, College, Certifications, Classes. I can take a pretty limitless number of certifications and classes. Wishing my wife had this as the never ending amount of certifications she has gets fun..

    Sabatacle In our company you can apply for 3-month transfers to wildly different jobs to learn about how that role functions. You can do a 1 week education track (Go take education in something unrelated).

    Stock Options - Inversely if you work for a startup you might get stock options. These are a LONG shot gambling game (like 2% pay off) but I know some guys who their stock is trading in the 30's and their options were in the $2 range so assuming they make it to lockout I expect to get a call to hang out on their yacht....

    ESPP - Buy stock at a discount (See above comments). Note these are generally bought at a 10-15% discount based on the beginning or ending window (Whichever is lower) so its a game of heads I win, tails you loose against the market and can pay pretty well (or just be a nice couple grand of cash). I've had windows where I made 15%, sometimes I've made 115%. Either way, making 15% on a 6 month time period on the market with 100% certainty can't be beaten.

    Paternity leave - 18 weeks full pay, maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. Per kid and against my salary if you take 18 weeks of my pay that's the equivalent of 2 years of tuition at the local state school in town. My sisters is 6 months (she's taken twice now!).

    vacation Unlimited. Just got done with 4 weeks traveling Asia, spent a week in Mexico, and have another week or two in India later this year on top of some 3 day weekends.

    Work from home/anywhere Sometimes I just leave town on Wen/Thursday and go to a beach house to finish working out the week.

    Travel Points and status - Traveling for work a lot adds up. Note this is a NON-taxable (Weird exclusion). So when traveling I can get hotel points and airline points. With SoutWest I have a companion pass (My wife flies free with me), and with Marriot, I get free cocktails and appetizers in the afternoon and breakfast in the morning in the executive lounge. I get free upgrades with Marriot when traveling so that $150 small room can turn into a 40th-floor suite sometimes. I just stayed a week in bali at a 5 star hotel without having to pay for the rooms or $30 breakfasts.

    Expense
    Do they let you do your own booking, do they require a corporate credit card (no points can be brutal, to the point of $20-30K easily for some people in compensation) Can you expense travel lounges (Sooo nice). With customers, I can pay for fairly nice meals/drinks etc without issue. I have Uber and Lyft integrated into my expense account so I've managed to cut my travel in my own car to ~600-700 miles in 6 months.

    Travel
    Travel Policy - Do they make you fly 18 hours, 5 hops to save $100?
    Do they put you in first class if the flight is over 4 hours?
    Do you stay in the Motel 8 and have to share a room (or PAY for your spouse's 1/2 of the room if they happen to travel with you!).
    Do they make you fly in the morning you are presenting when it's 12 times zones away, or do they put you up in the hotel for the weekend to adjust to the time zone, and be a tourist for the weekend?
    When you're at a conference in Vegas can you boss write off $150 tickets to see Billy Idol.

    My wife's got some other weirder stuff

    non-profit/public retirement options.

    401A - Like a 401K match but you don't have to put money in, they just put x% of your salary.

    457(b) - Can withdraw from it without early penalty if you no longer work for said employer.

    403B - A lower overhead 401K plan with no match.

    allowance for continuing education.

    Equipment allowance. She can spend money on books of stethoscopes.

    By strategically maxing out withholding on all this, she can massively reduce her taxable salary.


  • Vendor

    @nerdydad Curious why BYOD failed?


  • Vendor

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    They call it a bonus because we have a set salary/wage and the bonus is added on, depending on how the company did or how long you have worked at the company.

    This is TECHNICALLY profit sharing. You should just codify the exact rules (20% of Net Profits go into the employee benefits pool, and employee's shares are weighted based on years at the company or something blah blah blah).



  • @john-nicholson said in Company Benefits:

    Base, plus growth structure - can it grow? Is there an org chart with clear steps to moving up and getting bumps in pay? Does everyone get 2% and stagnate till they leave?

    OTE Bonus. I get paid an extra multiplier based on my base pay based. Mine isn't actually tied to metrics (I prefer this) and is completely based on my boss's assessment of me doing my job. While there is an "On Target Earnings" nothing stops you from getting over 100%. While when accepting the offer I weighted the bonus at 50%, I will say "it's not virtual". The biggest way to see how real this is is go check with GlassDoor and existing employees who've been there 4-5 years.

    RSU (Restricted Stock Units)'s - If you keep getting these every year on a standard 2-5 (Depends on company and grant window) year vestment schedule, you eventually end up with a rather nice kicker. This also is really nice if your stock doubles within a given year (Well except for capital gains). The longer you stay the stickier these become, and the more a company likes you the more they will give you to "handcuff" you to the company. The more a company wants you to stay the more you get these (i know people with solid 7 figure piles). A decent 6 figure pile of this is nice and can be used in leverage with a company who wants to poach on you why they better give you a bigger base (or a bigger pile of them!).

    Education School, College, Certifications, Classes. I can take a pretty limitless number of certifications and classes. Wishing my wife had this as the never ending amount of certifications she has gets fun..

    Sabatacle In our company you can apply for 3-month transfers to wildly different jobs to learn about how that role functions. You can do a 1 week education track (Go take education in something unrelated).

    Stock Options - Inversely if you work for a startup you might get stock options. These are a LONG shot gambling game (like 2% pay off) but I know some guys who their stock is trading in the 30's and their options were in the $2 range so assuming they make it to lockout I expect to get a call to hang out on their yacht....

    ESPP - Buy stock at a discount (See above comments). Note these are generally bought at a 10-15% discount based on the beginning or ending window (Whichever is lower) so its a game of heads I win, tails you loose against the market and can pay pretty well (or just be a nice couple grand of cash). I've had windows where I made 15%, sometimes I've made 115%. Either way, making 15% on a 6 month time period on the market with 100% certainty can't be beaten.

    Paternity leave - 18 weeks full pay, maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. Per kid and against my salary if you take 18 weeks of my pay that's the equivalent of 2 years of tuition at the local state school in town. My sisters is 6 months (she's taken twice now!).

    vacation Unlimited. Just got done with 4 weeks traveling Asia, spent a week in Mexico, and have another week or two in India later this year on top of some 3 day weekends.

    Work from home/anywhere Sometimes I just leave town on Wen/Thursday and go to a beach house to finish working out the week.

    Travel Points and status - Traveling for work a lot adds up. Note this is a NON-taxable (Weird exclusion). So when traveling I can get hotel points and airline points. With SoutWest I have a companion pass (My wife flies free with me), and with Marriot, I get free cocktails and appetizers in the afternoon and breakfast in the morning in the executive lounge. I get free upgrades with Marriot when traveling so that $150 small room can turn into a 40th-floor suite sometimes. I just stayed a week in bali at a 5 star hotel without having to pay for the rooms or $30 breakfasts.

    Expense
    Do they let you do your own booking, do they require a corporate credit card (no points can be brutal, to the point of $20-30K easily for some people in compensation) Can you expense travel lounges (Sooo nice). With customers, I can pay for fairly nice meals/drinks etc without issue. I have Uber and Lyft integrated into my expense account so I've managed to cut my travel in my own car to ~600-700 miles in 6 months.

    Travel
    Travel Policy - Do they make you fly 18 hours, 5 hops to save $100?
    Do they put you in first class if the flight is over 4 hours?
    Do you stay in the Motel 8 and have to share a room (or PAY for your spouse's 1/2 of the room if they happen to travel with you!).
    Do they make you fly in the morning you are presenting when it's 12 times zones away, or do they put you up in the hotel for the weekend to adjust to the time zone, and be a tourist for the weekend?
    When you're at a conference in Vegas can you boss write off $150 tickets to see Billy Idol.

    My wife's got some other weirder stuff

    non-profit/public retirement options.

    401A - Like a 401K match but you don't have to put money in, they just put x% of your salary.

    457(b) - Can withdraw from it without early penalty if you no longer work for said employer.

    403B - A lower overhead 401K plan with no match.

    allowance for continuing education.

    Equipment allowance. She can spend money on books of stethoscopes.

    By strategically maxing out withholding on all this, she can massively reduce her taxable salary.

    HOLY TOLEDO!! Where does your wife work and are they currently accepting applications? (Not because of your wife, because of the benefits of the company, of course.)

    Company is private, so there is no stocks to speak of, but there is also no SEC looking over us.

    403(b) is just like a 401(k) but for non-profits. Doesn't apply here.


  • Vendor

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    HOLY TOLEDO!! Where does your wife work and are they currently accepting applications? (Not because of your wife, because of the benefits of the company, of course.)
    Company is private, so there is no stocks to speak of, but there is also no SEC looking over us.
    403(b) is just like a 401(k) but for non-profits. Doesn't apply here.

    My wife's just the bottom stuff, most of that is mine (She also has access to an annuity type option but I'm going to go with Fidelity because I hate TIAA for their 10 years to get money out nonsense). She works for A large Children's hospital. I figure if I can max the 18K or whatever it is into each account I can defer a ton of taxable income Note there is no match on any of them it's just the x% put into the 401A.
    Throw in a back door Roth conversation on top of maxing out those 3 accounts and I'm likely going to likely keep most of her income from getting spent this year (or taxed).

    A company being private can mean there are stock and stock options. Veeam and Spiceworks employee's get stock for instance. It just means that the liquidity is generally very low (It's harder to sell) and often has rules (first right of refusal on a price is held by the company). Private company share holders also have far fewer rights than the public as the SEC doesn't rule with an iron fist so it's not as valuable. If a company is growing and values it's employee's they will do this.

    I work for a large software company based in Palo Alto California (I work in Texas from home though as my wife was in medical education here).


  • Vendor

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    HOLY TOLEDO!! Where does your wife work and are they currently accepting applications? (Not because of your wife, because of the benefits of the company, of course.)

    I'd like to point out that benefits at large companies can easily be anywhere from 50-120% of the compensation depending on your role, and field. This is an area where a lot of small companies just suck (especially for IT practitioners). They MIGHT get close to paying comparable salary. Once you remove all the benefits they just become laughably low on compensation.


  • Service Provider

    @john-nicholson said in Company Benefits:

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    They call it a bonus because we have a set salary/wage and the bonus is added on, depending on how the company did or how long you have worked at the company.

    This is TECHNICALLY profit sharing. You should just codify the exact rules (20% of Net Profits go into the employee benefits pool, and employee's shares are weighted based on years at the company or something blah blah blah).

    Yes, profit sharing is mostly fine, bonuses are very different and are subjective.


  • Service Provider

    @john-nicholson said in Company Benefits:

    A company being private can mean there are stock and stock options. Veeam and Spiceworks employee's get stock for instance. It just means that the liquidity is generally very low (It's harder to sell) and often has rules (first right of refusal on a price is held by the company). Private company share holders also have far fewer rights than the public as the SEC doesn't rule with an iron fist so it's not as valuable. If a company is growing and values it's employee's they will do this.

    Common tactic for start ups is to offer stock that isn't public so can't be traded (or traded easily.) It sounds great but often leaves you with stock worth nothing. Have to be very careful with this. What is great in a large public company can be a totally bad move in a small one.


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    @john-nicholson said in Company Benefits:

    @nerdydad said in Company Benefits:

    They call it a bonus because we have a set salary/wage and the bonus is added on, depending on how the company did or how long you have worked at the company.

    This is TECHNICALLY profit sharing. You should just codify the exact rules (20% of Net Profits go into the employee benefits pool, and employee's shares are weighted based on years at the company or something blah blah blah).

    Yes, profit sharing is mostly fine, bonuses are very different and are subjective.

    Other things that get mislabeled as bonuses are commissioned, and just general variable compensation.

    Does it have clear rules that are enforceable in law? I'd argue it's not a bonus. Is it based on subjective interpretations and is kinda arbitrary based on what your boss thinks? Bonus!

    The general non-rule rule I hear on bonuses for us is in order for you not to get 100% it requires one of a few things...

    1. Your BU is falling apart and possibly going to be sold so it's not getting the bonus pool funded to 100%.
    2. You have to be warned to the point that it's in your HR file twice for non-performance. In this case, the money going to the bonus for you is LIKELY going to a team member who was covering your slack to make up for them having to do that.

    In either case, you should see this coming and be more worried about having a job than not getting a bonus. The only case I've ever heard of someone at our company having their boss give them 0% and it likely be biased, the boss was pushed out within the next bonus cycle.

    The company culture and budgets will determine the "reality" of bonuses. Note if a company doesn't pay bonus's out and screw's employee's a lot it will show up on Anonymous feedback on GlassDoor. (Read some of the storage startups, it's hilarious).


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    Common tactic for start ups is to offer stock that isn't public so can't be traded (or traded easily.) It sounds great but often leaves you with stock worth nothing. Have to be very careful with this. What is great in a large public company can be a totally bad move in a small one

    It's worse than that. You may get options that when you exercise them to generate a tax event. So you PAY money to the IRS for something that ends up worthless!


  • Service Provider

    @john-nicholson said in Company Benefits:

    @scottalanmiller said in Company Benefits:

    Common tactic for start ups is to offer stock that isn't public so can't be traded (or traded easily.) It sounds great but often leaves you with stock worth nothing. Have to be very careful with this. What is great in a large public company can be a totally bad move in a small one

    It's worse than that. You may get options that when you exercise them to generate a tax event. So you PAY money to the IRS for something that ends up worthless!

    Yeah, it can get pretty bad.


  • Vendor

    Other benefits we have are Pinball machine break rooms, foosball, table tennis. Free fruit, and bagels, cereal, and fruits and snacks. The M&M's they tried to remove, led to the great M&M engineering riots of 2009 the rumor goes. Now they refill the M&M canisters twice a day. We have cofve machines so complicated that I have to seek someone out to operate them.


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