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Five on Friday: Weird work perks

Five on Friday: Weird work perks

Welcome to Five on Friday, a round-up of views on a theme. In this post we look at weird work perks, beyond pay bonuses and your own personal concierge. (If anyone has a concierge they can lend me, let me know.) Are they incentives? Are they an excuse for management to let loose? Are they perverse jokes on employees? You decide!

Employee incentives can range from the simple—pay bonuses and drinks on Friday afternoon—to the downright weird. We can’t vouch for the effectiveness of the following work perks but if you like them, maybe you can convince your organisation to introduce them.

1. A parade for employee of the month
Online retailer Zappos hosts a Hero parade every month for a chosen staff member. Each member of staff is given a $50 allowance to award to a co-worker. Zappos selects a ‘Hero’ from all those who receive a bonus and they throw a parade complete with noisemakers and a rendition of the song ‘I need a hero’. In addition the parade, the Hero receives a parking spot for a month a Zappos gift card and a hero’s cape.

2. Resignation bonus
Zappos is also responsible for another unusual practice: encouraging employees to leave by offering a pay bonus. This ensures that the ones who leave have no barrier to do so and the ones who stay are dedicated to the culture and the company ethos.

Australian company Smartsalary has also started to offer resignation bonuses. CEO Deven Billimoria says if an employee doesn’t fit in after three months he’d rather they leave sooner than later because it costs less in disruption and lost revenue from not having a committed team member.

3. The holiday that never ends
A US events company, Red Frog, allows its employees to take unlimited holidays. You read that correctly: unlimited holidays. The company says this perk means its staff are productive—and creative. As long as the staff members get their work done and have work covered by a colleague when they go away, they can take as much leave time as they like. I should also mention this is the same company that has a treehouse in the middle of its office.

4. Funding the split
Getting a divorce is never an easy process. In addition to the relationship breakdown, it can affect your health, your sanity and your work. There’s nothing an employer can do to patch up the relationship but some do ease the stress by paying the legal fees of their employees. UK legal firm Pannone says it has started to see a lift in employer-funded divorces presumably because it’s one less thing for an employee to worry about and they can then focus on their job.

5. Funding the permanent split
Google is famous for its employee benefits but how about the one where the employee doesn’t benefit at all? All Google employees are entitled to death benefits regardless of tenure. This means that if a Google employee dies while still employed at Google, his/her surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive 50% of the Googler's salary every year for 10 years. The company actually derives no benefit from this. Google are just nice.

Whether or not you have a concierge at your service, have a good weekend.

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