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How 10 companies are breaking the benefits mold – Employee Benefit News (registration)

From retirement and health plans to limitless paid day without work, work flexibility and scorching new benefits similar to scholar mortgage reimbursement and professional improvement, these 10 companies are main the pack in terms of innovation in the subject.


Work-life stability is usually a buzzword at most companies, however for international chemical firm BASF, it’s a mission. The firm’s dedication to making a tradition that’s supportive of staff at work and at house has earned business awards in addition to reward from its employees.

“When [employees] are stressed out about what’s going on with their childcare or what’s going on with their financial situation, that takes them away from being productive and engaged and happy at work,” says Mollie O’Brien, director of complete rewards at BASF. “Corporations are realizing they need to keep up with this.”

That’s why the firm gives strong work-life stability choices together with versatile work preparations, complete wellness, eldercare and childcare. BASF’s headquarters in Germany, for instance, consists of an onsite nursery, a fitness and health studio, an onsite medical consulting service and a follow for bodily remedy.

“Compensation has to be competitive, but it has to be about the whole package,” O’Brien says. “Flex work is critical. It cuts across all demographics. It doesn’t matter who you are, everybody wants it. Everybody wants to use it.”

Some different revolutionary options embraced at BASF? Creative work areas in the agency’s headquarters, which embrace espresso bars and designed quiet areas, and alternatives for workers to problem themselves by taking over new roles — or new places.

“It’s thinking in the mindset of, ‘How can we challenge this employee?’ Maybe it’s taking a finance person and putting him in HR, or taking an HR person and putting him in customer service,” O’Brien says. “If they’re a proven leader, maybe what they need is to get a totally new sense of the business by putting them in a different department, a different country, a different area. From that, they’ll have completely different eyes when they come back. Or maybe they won’t come back.”

“That’s part of work-life balance — being challenged at work. And I think it’s something we do really well,” O’Brien says.

JPMorgan Chase

Despite the prevalence of autism in America — one in each 68 youngsters in the United States is recognized as being on the autism spectrum, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — benefits for the situation aren’t almost as widespread.

[Image credit: Bloomberg]

[Image credit: Bloomberg]

“ABA [applied behavioral analytics], which is considered the standard of care provided, historically has been left out of coverage plans,” says Lorri Unumb, vice chairman, state authorities affairs, for Autism Speaks. But extra employers are now warming to the concept. Financial big JPMorgan Chase is a type of companies.

JPMorgan Chase, the funding and retail financial institution, started providing autism benefits to its 160,000 U.S. staff beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, following a properly-acquired autism consciousness occasion that happened inside the agency in 2013.

“It was so well-received that people asked for autism coverage in the medical plan, and we launched that [in 2014.] We continue to see very happy families and employees,” says Lyn Marie Pilgrim, government director, benefits design & technique, JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase offers protection for the preliminary autism analysis and the numerous forms of therapies that are typically prescribed for the neurobiological dysfunction. “That could include ABA, cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, periodic developmental screening, individual or group family therapy, speech and occupational and physical therapy, as necessary. And, of course, medication management,” she says.


It’s onerous to not speak about Netflix when discussing paid depart benefits. The streaming big famously introduced final yr it was providing as a lot as one yr of paid day without work to new moms and dads. That was along with the firm’s limitless-time-off coverage for trip and sick days.

“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home,” stated Netflix chief expertise officer Tawni Cranz in a weblog submit saying the change. “We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay.”

The firm’s paid depart coverage has garnered virtually as a lot curiosity as its present revivals. That’s as a result of it’s merely not completed typically — or in any respect.

Only 12% of U.S. personal-sector staff have entry to any paid household depart via their jobs, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor. Unlimited time, in fact, traditionally has been a lot much less widespread.

Netflix maybe additionally helped begin a brand new development — or a minimum of put such benefits in a brand new mild. In the final yr, a handful of different companies, together with Nestle and Adobe, have expanded paid depart benefits for moms and dads.


Last yr, Boxed CEO Chieh Huang made fairly the splash in worker benefits when he introduced that he would begin paying for the school tuition of the youngsters of his staff.

But this yr, he went a step additional: Huang stated he was additionally going to pay for the wedding ceremony bills of all his single staff.

“Our goal is to strengthen the overall employer-employee bond,” he says. “I think paying for college tuition and wedding expenses helps us do that.”

The firm’s unconventional strategy to benefits, Huang says, is just the proper factor to do.

“I realized only two people out of 20 could afford private transportation to get to work,” he says. “Even if we doubled their salary, these people couldn’t afford a car or a college education for their kids. So I decided to do something about it.”

Huang is now writing school tuition checks for 4 college students. He has dedicated the worth of a piece of his Boxed inventory to fund the profit as extra college students turn out to be eligible for the program over the subsequent 5 or 6 years. By that point, he hopes the firm might be bought or go public and that half of his inventory will simply pay for all these school educations.

“The folks who have been with us for the ride and are present on that day will be eligible for the benefit,” he says.


Student mortgage debt has more and more grow to be a scorching office matter. It’s no marvel: Student debt is a large and rising drawback in the U.S., with common scholar debt at an all-time excessive of over $37,000. With new staff getting into the workforce with recent debt — and older staff nonetheless beneath monetary stress as they pay their loans — employers are starting to see the toll the debt is taking and doing one thing about it.

One firm main the cost of scholar mortgage reimbursement benefits is skilled providers agency PwC, which this summer time started serving to almost half of its 46,000 staff pay down their scholar loans.

The firm will contribute $100 per thirty days ($1,200 per yr) for as much as six years (a most of $7,200) to assist nonmanagement staff pay down their scholar loans. PwC pays the cash on to its staff’ scholar mortgage servicer, the middlemen who gather funds.

Part of the motivation for providing the profit was the demographic of the firm’s staff — PwC is a millennial group; the common age of its staff is about 28.

“Millennials tell us they’re living longer at home. They are delaying major life decisions like marriage and having children. They are putting off major purchases like cars. They’re not saving for retirement,” says PwC’s U.S. and international expertise chief, Mike Fenlon.

Additionally, millennials typically interact in “risky financial behavior,” Fenlon says, which incorporates overdrawing checking accounts, carrying bank card balances and heavy use of “alternate financial services,” like pawn outlets, penny loans and tax refund advances.

Helping younger staff with scholar mortgage debt is just a great determination, Fenlon says. “Just as we have to innovate in business overall, we have to offer benefits that have the most value that will engage our employees.”


Michelin has one aim in terms of the wellbeing of its staff: Keeping them “as healthy as genetically possible.”

That’s what Barry Cross, Michelin’s senior director of complete rewards benefits, compensation and retirement, says about the catalyst behind the firm’s current strikes to create a sustainable tradition of health that yields lengthy-time period, constructive return on funding.

One current transfer? Recruiting a chief medical officer. “It’s the first phase of a long 10- to 15-year program,” Cross says.

Part of that lengthy-time period imaginative and prescient consists of quite a lot of health instruments provided to Michelin’s 22,000 North American staff, akin to biometrics, private health critiques and household health facilities. Beyond improved health, financial benefits act as an incentive for Michelin staff: They can earn as much as $2,000 a yr as a health reimbursement association for a biometrics scan.

Michelin spends about $250 million a yr on complete healthcare, which incorporates 4 household health facilities with annual working budgets of $5 million.

The Michelin Family Health Centers, situated in Greenville, S.C. — the place the firm’s North American division is headquartered — Lexington, South Carolina, and Ardmore, Okla., supply 30-minute appointments to staff. He describes the facilities as “concierge medicine,” which is turning into a rising development in the benefits packages for workers.

Through the facilities, together with health club reimbursements, free medicine for situation administration and on-website gyms, Michelin lowered metabolic syndrome by 12% in three years.

Michelin can also be creating name facilities to proceed to enhance staff’ health.

“Employees can call in and talk to a human being and get some real, pointed advice,” Cross stated. “We’re going to take that lead and engage more richly with our folks.”


It solely is sensible that staff who work for a mass media conglomerate get leisure perks.

Comcast staff in serviceable areas get free XFINITY TV and Internet providers, in addition to discounted voice and residential choices — an annual financial savings of about $three,000, the cable big says. Employees additionally get discounted tickets to the Universal Orlando and Hollywood theme parks, in addition to 20% off Fandango present playing cards.

It’s extra than simply enjoyable perks. Comcast’s strong benefits package deal consists of medical, dental and imaginative and prescient benefits, tuition reimbursement, baby and eldercare assets and adoption help.

Financial benefits are additionally an important element: Comcast presents a 401(okay) plan with an organization match, a inventory plan choice and complimentary private finance counseling from professionals.

“We have a very diverse population that we need to offer benefits for and take into consideration,” says Jill Personett, senior director of profit design and technique at Comcast.

The cable supplier even has a benefits committee that determines what perks might be provided.


Sure, the benefits behemoth is understood for its worker profit choices to different companies, however perks for its personal staff are equally as progressive. For Aflac, it’s all about offering benefits — akin to skilled improvement — that each interact and retain staff, says chief useful resource officer Matthew Owenby. And it’s working: The common tenure at the insurance coverage agency is 18 years.

“If you take care of employees, they will take care of the business,” he says.

One of the issues Aflac “really focuses on is coaching,” he says. “We have people tell us online what their strengths and weakness are. And then we put them into groups to network and discuss how they can get better at work.”

The firm takes a large strategy to partaking throughout totally different teams of staff, and Owenby recommends Aflac’s strategy to reaching a number of teams.

For its feminine staff, the insurer holds a “women’s tea” the place ladies collect with feminine executives to debate profession improvement and challenges ladies face in the office. “It’s a small, simple thing that we get wonderful feedback from,” he says.

Aflac additionally holds “men’s coffee” conferences the place males come collectively to listen to from male executives about office points and technique. “We talk about personal development and how people can advance their careers,” he says.

Employee surveys and reaching out by way of social media are methods the firm targets its youthful teams. “We have a nationwide career expo where we talk about our jobs, and in some cases we do speed interviewing,” he says. “Employees can connect to a real person who is hiring managers.”


Last yr, tech big Microsoft introduced a sweeping overhaul to its worker benefits package deal — doubling the quantity of paid day without work new mother and father will obtain, including companywide holidays and remodeling its 401(okay) matching program.

Notably, in January, Microsoft elevated the firm’s 401(okay) match program, matching 50% of worker deferrals as much as $9,000 per yr. That’s a big improve from the firm’s earlier employer match, which was 50% of the first 6% staff deferred, to a most of three% of pay.

The determination to extend the 401(okay) match was based mostly largely on a want to equalize healthcare and retirement benefits, says Sonja Kellen, director of worldwide retirement benefits for Microsoft.

“We review our benefits portfolio every year, looking at it holistically in terms of the investment we’re making from a cost perspective, but also how we’re benchmarking among our peers,” she says. “We wanted to balance it out a little bit more. Our health plan is incredibly generous; we find [it] to be one of the best in the industry. We wanted to make sure that we had equally as much investment in our financial benefits.”

Included in these monetary benefits are one-on-one monetary teaching periods with a Fidelity consultant; instruments and assets, together with Willis Towers Watson’s myFiTage on-line device, which helps staff perceive at what age they’ll turn out to be financially unbiased and be capable of reside and not using a paycheck; and Microsoft’s complete rewards portal, which Kellen says is a broad-based mostly take a look at the complete funding Microsoft makes in its staff. The firm presents fast enrollment in the 401(okay) plan, with 100% vesting from day one.

La Macchia Enterprises

For La Macchia Enterprises, wellness isn’t only a technique; it’s a lifestyle.

Nearly each worker — greater than 95% of the workforce — participates in the firm’s wellness program. That’s as a result of, says Shawn Gulyas, La Macchia’s vice chairman of human assets, wellness is ingrained in its tradition.

How does the credit score union and design-construct agency do that? Making positive wellness is part of on a regular basis life. The mother or father firm of The Mark Travel Corp., which owns and manages a number of trip manufacturers, together with Funjet Vacations, Southwest Vacations and United Vacations, posts wellness tips and inspirations every day to staff. “We have new content [on our website] every single day because we are living it every single day,” Gulyas say. “You may hate today’s, but you might think tomorrow’s is inspiring.”

Fruits, greens and different healthy snacks inventory the fridges in firm places; strolling conferences are the norm; and the firm hosts an annual “Wellness Action Day,” a daylong occasion for workers and their households that options wellness distributors, healthy snacks and fitness video games.

Wellness isn’t purely about nutrition and fitness, Gulyas says. It’s “all-encompassing” and consists of stability and function. That can embrace stressing the significance of laughter, humor, gratitude and decluttering — all subjects that have been explored in in style wellness periods at the firm.

“It’s about trying to open up our eyes and see how this wellness thing works,” Gulyas says. He provides, “We give them every opportunity to get engaged.”

Phil Albinus, Amanda Eisenberg and Sheryl Smolkin contributed to this text.

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