A happy staff is a productive staff, and the happier they are, the more liable they are to stay. We asked association professionals what are the benefits that they find are most helpful to them and/or their staffs. By far, flex time was noted by many, but see what other creative benefits associations offer to their staffs:
Flex time. Just read the comments:
“It is quoted as our No. 1 retention component. The employees seem extremely loyal and want to work.”
“I think flex time is tremendously valuable because it shows we recognize that ‘regular’ life doesn't stop during business hours. I think people work harder because they know they're able to deal with their own issues when they need to.”
“Agree on flex time. We have only two required days in the office and the rest is work from home. We have a staff of six soon to be seven, so I'm sure size plays a factor on how well that model can work universally.”
“When I was at my last association, it was work-from-home Fridays. It actually taught me how to work from home.”
“At an association I worked at, flex time and telecommuting were top perks for employees. Generous leave that accrued from Day 1, a sabbatical after 10 years on top of your accrued leave. Also generous 401k matches were all ‘golden handcuffs.’”
Wellness policy. A healthy staff also is something association executives want for their employees and the association.
“My former association really took seriously the wellness policy by covering gym memberships for all employees.”
At one executive’s former association, “There is a wellness reimbursement program that included things like entry fees in races, equipment, shoes, etc. If I recall correctly, it was up to $500 per year. The bicycle I ride to this day was paid for by work!”
Here’s a unique wellness benefit at one association: “I'm particularly enamored of the 30-minute chair massages that staff gets once a month.”
Reasonable scheduling. “No long all-staff meetings and every schedule development starts with putting down a lunch break.”
Professional enhancement. Helping staff members grow not only improves their abilities and knowledge, it can also solidify loyalty. “Our tuition reimbursement program covers both tuition and other related expenses in part both for undergraduate and graduate studies.”
Here’s a unique benefit offered by an association with international offices: “The program encouraged employees in the association’s U.S. offices and the offices in London and Hong Kong to apply for special short-term project assignments in another office outside of their native country. That’s how I got to be in London for four months. The association has apartments in each of the cities and also pays a stipend for other expenses. A truly remarkable experience for me and a few dozen other employees.”
Cool stuff: These definitely will keep staff happy!
“Quite a few employees (myself included) travel globally and business-class airfare was allowed for those trips. However if you wanted to bring a spouse or guest and were willing to travel economy instead of business class, then the association pays the airfare for the person traveling with you. (The value of the person's fare was taxable income.)"
“Arrange for an ice cream truck to arrive outside of headquarters every Friday in warm months. Staff can order anything and it is on the house.”
“Close the office spontaneously on a beautiful day such as (in D.C.) when cherry blossoms are at peak.”
“Have movie time in the conference room with popcorn and snacks provided.”