Progressive businesses try to offer a range of benefits and policies that help retain employees and make them more productive.
Extra Vacation Time for Sale
Two years ago, the Bonita Bay Group, the Bonita Springs-based master-planned community developer, saw some of its 1,500 employees being priced out of the real estate market in Collier County. The company introduced an employee financial assistance program for those looking to buy their first home. Employees can borrow up to $5,000 interest-free to use as a down payment or to clean up their credit to help them purchase their first home. They can repay the loan through payroll deductions over five years. Employees who qualify for federal affordable housing programs only need to repay 40% of the loan. The company will look into expanding its home-buying assistance program this year to keep up with rising real estate prices in its area.
Knocking Down Barriers
Bayfront Health System, with a host of family-friendly policies and benefits, has been recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the top companies to work for in the country. Bayfront, with 2,500 employees, is one of a few companies ambitious enough to tackle the gender-stereotyping issues that USF's Tammy Allen identifies as an institutional barrier to family-friendly workplaces. More than half the hospital's managers are women, and Bayfront offers a mentoring program called Adventures in Leadership to help women employees further their careers.
Creating Savvier Investors
At WilsonMiller, an engineering firm based in Naples, more than 90% of the 600 employees participate in the company's 401(k) plan. But the company found that participation didn't always correspond to investment savvy. "Most people don't know how to manage their investments," says human resources director Steve Csotty, so WilsonMiller now offers the services of an outside money management firm to its employees, and more than two-thirds make use of it. Employees pay less than 1% of their total investment, and WilsonMiller picks up other management costs. There is no minimum investment required.