On-the-Job Perks Are Still Out There

The job market continues to be tough, but there are pockets of areas where employers are getting creative with perks to keep their best employees and attract new ones.

With job openings predicted to outstrip available workers by as much as 10 million in seven years, some employers are laying on the perks now to bolster their reputations as top-notch employers later.

Everything from pet medical benefits to napping rooms to office concierge services, companies are getting creative in their attempts to woo employees and to make their lives a little bit easier along the way.

The health care industry, which is grappling with massive nurse and lab technician shortages, is showing some particular creativity. At Indiana Heart Hospital in Indianapolis, employees can call on their own concierge to help them get a work-day oil change, buy tickets to a show, do Internet research on a topic of personal interest or pick up their dry-cleaning.

"These are things you'd research in your office," said Emily David, director of guest relations who oversees the hospital's concierge program. "We're saying, 'let us do the research for you so you can focus on your job.'"

That means, "you don't have to go on your Saturday to get your oil changed," said David. "It's like belonging to a neat club."

Indeed at a time when many employers are cutting health insurance benefits for their employees, others are providing coverage for their employees’ pets. Others are offering stipends to offset the cost of adopting a child. Still others provide a quiet place where their employees can take a short nap during the day. Bank One is offering a more practical perk—contributions to 401(k) accounts and stock grants.

In some cases, employers are offering creative and offbeat benefits because "they have no choice if they want to retain valuable workers," said John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that within seven years, there will be just 158 million workers to fill 168 million available positions. Employees will have the luxury of being more particular when it comes to deciding where they will spend their work hours and perks will matter.

"When we first got the nap room everyone thought it was kind of a joke," said Portland, OR-based R&H Construction Human Resources Director Amy Hill. "But now everyone uses it."

So for those of you looking for a job, a labor shortage is just seven years away...

You may like these other stories...

Without getting into all that's been written about the jobless recovery and record high corporate profits without the accompanying hiring, there has indeed been a fundamental shift in how corporate America is working...
Read more by Rita Keller here.I recently read a tweet by my music-teacher son regarding his fifth-grade musicians: “My fifth-grade flutes and clarinets just exhaust me. They have so much energy and ask sooooo many...
By Richard D. Alaniz  On June 24, 2013, the US Supreme Court narrowed the definition of who qualifies as a "supervisor" for the purposes of harassment cases. This holding is a significant win for...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.