Simple birthday cards mailed to employees at their homes can have a big impact. Kids get very excited about mail coming to the house. Seeing something from mom or dad’s work engages them and gives a favorable impression of the company. Spouses are also engaged in this way as they like to see that their partners recognized by their employers.
More elaborate and ever popular ways of engaging the family include hosting family picnics or family friendly holiday parties. Some more moderately priced suggestions include gift certificates for a family friendly venue such as mini golf, bowling, or movie tickets. Gift certificates for dinner at a fancy restaurant or tickets to a sporting event are always well received. When you engage the family, you gain more elasticity in the work life balance equation.
Voluntary Benefits are becoming very popular in the workplace. Voluntary benefits are programs that the employer does not contribute to. These are usually funded by employee contributions through payroll deductions. Administration costs for these types of programs are very low and some have no cost at all. They run the gamut from that cute little duck on TV that gives you money when you’re in the hospital to the new kid on the block “Pet Insurance.” Pet insurance is very popular with employees because it gives them the opportunity to save some money by being able to pay a group rate instead of the rate they would pay if they got the policies through their veterinary office.
A few final words of advice to employers, no matter what you give, make sure it is given equitably. If some employees are given items of greater value than others, make sure the criteria is well defined. Also publicize the gifts. Mention them in your employee handbook if appropriate, if something is being given in recognition of extra effort on the part of an individual, a team, or all employees, shout it to the rafters!