Progressive businesses try to offer a range of benefits and policies that help retain employees and make them more productive.
Giving Workers an Ownership Stake
Along with offering 401(k) plans and tuition reimbursement, some privately held companies like Publix Super Markets in Lakeland allow employees to purchase stock in the company. Publix, with some 135,000 employees in five states, including 107,000 in Florida, allows employees with a year's experience to buy in. Since 1959, when employee stock options were first made available, the annual rate of return has averaged 17%. In the early '90s, Publix also added a 401(k) plan. Publix matches employee contributions up to $750 a year.
On-site or near-site child-care centers have become common at many businesses. With more than 8,000 employees, Westgate Resorts is one of the largest timeshare resort operators in central Florida. The company runs a Children's Learning and Development Center in Orlando and subsidizes child-care costs.
Kicking the Habit
Baptist Health South Florida, headquartered in Coral Gables, employs 11,000, making it the largest south Florida-based private employer. Along with child care and other family-friendly benefits, the non-profit healthcare organization offers a wellness program that helps employees follow a healthy lifestyle. Hospital-based fitness centers are offered to employees for free, and a wellness team provides free health screenings and programs. Employees who want to stop smoking are reimbursed for their smoking cessation courses and supplies, and those who don't smoke pay less for their health insurance.
Some work/life trends, according to Work/Life Today newsletter:
» With a flurry of major storms over the past two years, more companies are offering disaster relief benefits, including free counseling for post-disaster stress and adopt-a-family programs.
» Assistance for identity theft victims, including pay for lost workdays and reimbursement for expenses, including legal fees.
» Work/life-themed training for managers, including some plans that tie a manager's pay to employee satisfaction.
» Elder-care benefits, including assistance finding elder-care aid and elder-care leave.