As PayScale has reported in the past, the crazy perks that employers sometimes offer to lure potential hires or satisfy existing ones can be unusual and/or extremely valuable. While it goes without saying that you’d be hard-pressed to find an employee willing to work without monetary compensation — it’s called a “job” for a reason, after all — some companies have advanced the ever-escalating incentives competition even further by offering cash-based benefits on top of existing salaries or wages. From hiring bounties and quitting bonuses, a staff liquor fund, and even a budget to overcome your fears (seriously), here’s a list of the top cash-based incentives that employers have implemented in order to stay competitive in attracting quality talent.
(Photo Credit: Steve A. Johnson/Flickr)
Top Three Cash-Based Perks
1. Cash to Quit
Company: Zappos.com Inc.
Think “satisfaction or your money back guaranteed,” applied not to customers, but rather the employees themselves. As counterintuitive as being rewarded for not working might sound, Las Vegas-based online clothing and shoe retailer Zappos.com is so confident in its ability to provide a valuable work experience for its employees that it will award a $3,000 “quitting bonus” to anyone not satisfied after a month on the job.
The point? To ensure that Zappos employees have found the right fit (pun intended). If it stands to reason that people who like their jobs are more likely to do better work. By offering an incentive to leave if they don’t, Zappos can presumably create a positive, loyal environment with employees who actively want to be there, and thus will enhance the company’s profitability.
As CEO Tony Hsieh told The Wall Street Journal, “[I]f you get the culture right, most of the other stuff — like great customer service, or building a great long-term brand, or passionate employees and customers — will happen naturally on its own.”
The company recently took the philosophy a step even further by issuing a company-wide offer of a minimum of three months severance to any current employee who wanted to quit. As many as 210 of the site’s 1,500 employees (approximately 14 percent) took Hsieh up on his offer and decided to leave.
Those who chose to stay have access to a smorgasbord of perks, including cab vouchers, nap and nursing rooms, paid volunteer time, and a 24-hour-a-day fitness center.
2. $10,000 Hiring Bounties
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software marketing firm HubSpot will write a check for $10,000 to anyone who refers a software developer or engineer who ends up getting hired. The bounty is awarded to employees and non-employees alike, and referrals can be submitted directly online (with a few stipulations). (Think $10K sounds like a lot? Back in 2013, the price for a successful match was a whopping $30K).
The point? To attract the best possible talent. As former Chief Product Officer David Cancel explained, “We believe that you’re defined by the company you keep, so the … referral bonus is our way of thanking people worldwide for bringing us the best and brightest developers in the industry to join HubSpot.”
3. Cash to Confront Your Fears
Talk about healthy risk-taking. In what is possibly the most unusual cash-related perk on our list, customer service software company Medallia will actually pay its employees to “face their fears.” Employees of the Palo Alto-based company are allotted a budget to conquer a personal or professional fear or weakness by confronting it head on in a constructive way.
Employees have reportedly received compensation for everything from donating blood to overcome “a fear of needles,” to taking vocal lessons to face “a fear of being the center of attention by singing in front of an audience,” according to David Reese, Medallia’s Head of Human Resources.
The point? Presumably, to encourage personal growth and thus create better people (and workers).
Pay to Play
The Perk: Employer-financed vacation funds
California-based tech company Evernote will give employees $1,000 to go on vacation and “come back with a stretched-out mind,” according to CEO Phil Libin. The only catch isn’t a catch at all: workers must leave for at least a week in order to get the money. FullContact’s vacation fund is even more impressive. The Denver-based contact management software company will fork over $7,500 per employee per year to pay for a vacation (on top of his or her regular salary). The catch? Employees, according to FullContact, “MUST be off the grid, no emails, no calling work, ABSOLUTELY NO WORK. How does that sound?” Pretty good, if you ask us.
Pay to Give
Company: Boston Consulting Group
The Perk: $10,000 to volunteer
New BCG hires can reportedly defer employment from the business consulting firm for six months in exchange for $10,000 to volunteer at a nonprofit organization. (Additional equally impressive BCG benefits include tuition reimbursement, paid sabbaticals, and 100 percent healthcare coverage).
Pay to Grow
The Perk: Three to six-month partially paid sabbaticals
Like BCG, Deloitte offers paid sabbaticals. Every 36 months, employees of the global financial consulting firm can take a three to six-month partially paid leave (40 percent of their pre-sabbatical salary) “to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities in the areas of career development or volunteerism.” Employees can also opt for a one-month unpaid leave “for any reason” (whether its to grow or not).
Pay to Telecommute
Company: Quinn Emanuel
The Perk: $2,000 to work abroad for a week
Respected Los Angeles-based law firm Quinn Emanuel will give $2,000 to associates to work from “any location they choose anywhere in the world for a week.” Dubbed the “Global Experience Program,” the point, according to the firm, “is to allow associates to get away from the office and work in an exciting new environment.”
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