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Are Your Employees Thinking About Their Laundry Instead of Working?

Are your employees thinking about their laundry while they're trying to work?

This may sound facetious, but during these uncertain, turbulent times, employees have a lot on their minds that impede their ability to fully focus on work.

Why not learn from some of the best companies, and create ways to support your employees individual needs and lighten their mental, emotional and physical load?

In the "Six I" process for Creating a Dynamic Workplace Where Employees Love to Go and Customers Love to Buy, this is the Fourth I; "Individual Convenience Perks." These are the programs, policies, and added benefits that make an employees life easier so they can be more present, productive, and participatory at work.

From free home maid service for employees at the Omni Group, to eldercare counseling, and running clubs, organizations have seen a good "ROICP," return on individualized convenience perks. These "perks," also help leverage the diversity of talent in your organization, because people can use what works for them to make their lives easier. Not only do the perks lower employee stress levels, but they also create a culture of community, that is always reduces turnover and makes employees feel good about coming to work.

If employees are feeling sluggish from lack of exercise, worried about a sick child, or burned out from trying to do too much, they can't give 100% of their talent to your organization, no matter how hard they try.

Some other examples of individualized perks are; eldercare, subsidized dining rooms, pre-cooked dinners at very reduced prices, so employees don't always have to worry about cooking, on-site gyms, or employee discounts at off-site fitness centers, game rooms, meditation and quiet rooms, book clubs and concierge services.

According to a recent study by the International Labour Organization, job stress than $200 billion every year in lowered productivity, absenteeism, accidents, compensation claims, and medical expenses. Why not do what you can, to make it easier for employees to do their best work?

No matter the size of your budget, there are ways to provide some individualized convenience perks.

Here are seven actions you can take:

  1. Conduct and survey to identify employee wants and needs.
  2. Determine what fits your budget.
  3. Conduct focus groups, brainstorming sessions and/or a suggestion box, and ask employees to provide new ideas for perks that are important but beyond your budget. Ex. If childcare is important, but you can't provide onsite childcare, then negotiate with childcare centers for employee discounts.
  4. Research best practices of other organizations that are similar in size, and budget and determine what works for your company.
  5. Publicize programs you may already have, like counseling, walking groups, wellness, etc. that employees either don't know about or understand the benefits.
  6. Begin with the easiest, and lowest investment to implement (more flexible work times, or financial planning workshops)
  7. Create a sense of excitement amongst employees, and have people who will champion the perks.

A word of extra advice and caution:

Some companies only make perks available at the management level. If you want loyal, enthusiastic employees who make your customers feel welcome, and happy, offer the individualized convenience perks to people at every level, including call centers and housekeeping.

Don't think that perks are the solution for every problem, you still need to create workplace cultures where employees love to do their best work, and customers love to buy, and that takes strategy, implementation and participation.

Simma creates workplace cultures where people love to do their best work and customers love to do business. Read the Inclusionist blog. Follow her on twitter: @theinclusionist. Subscribe to her newsletter. E-mail or call 510-527-0700. Simma Lieberman is the co-author of Putting Diversity to Work, how to successfully lead a diverse workforce.