Slideshow 10 companies with innovative benefits packages

Published
  • April 17 2017, 2:30pm EDT

10 companies with innovative benefits packages

From retirement and health plans to unlimited paid time off, work flexibility and hot new benefits such as student loan repayment and professional development, these 10 companies are leading the pack when it comes to innovation in the field. Here’s what they are doing differently.

Netflix

Their unique offering: Unlimited paid time off

Perks include: Up to one year of paid time off to new mothers and fathers, and unlimited-time-off for vacation and sick days.

Why they do it: “Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home,” said Netflix chief talent officer Tawni Cranz in a blog post announcing the change. “We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances.”

Why it’s unique: Only 12% of U.S. private-sector employees have access to any paid family leave through their jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Unlimited time, of course, historically has been much less common.

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Michelin

Their focus: Keeping their employees “as healthy as genetically possible”

A recent move: Recruiting a chief medical officer

Workplace benefits include: A variety of health tools offered to Michelin’s 22,000 North American employees, such as biometrics, personal health reviews and family health centers. Beyond improved health, monetary benefits act as an incentive for Michelin employees: They can earn up to $2,000 a year as a health reimbursement arrangement for a biometrics scan.

What impact it’s having: Through the centers, along with gym reimbursements, free medication for condition management and on-site gyms, Michelin reduced metabolic syndrome by 12% in three years.v/

BASF

Their unique focus: Work-life balance

Perks include: Flexible work arrangements, comprehensive wellness, eldercare and childcare. BASF’s headquarters in Germany includes an onsite nursery, a fitness and health studio, an onsite medical consulting service and a practice for physical therapy. They also offer opportunities for employees to take on new roles and new locations within the company.

Why they do it: “When [employees] are stressed out about what’s going on with their childcare or what’s going on with their financial situation, that takes them away from being productive and engaged and happy at work,” says Mollie O’Brien, director of total rewards at BASF. “Corporations are realizing they need to keep up with this.”

JPMorgan Chase

Their unique focus: Autism benefits

Why it’s unique: Despite the prevalence of autism in America — one in every 68 children in the United States is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — benefits for the condition aren’t nearly as common. “ABA [applied behavioral analytics], which is considered the standard of care provided, historically has been left out of coverage plans,” says Lorri Unumb, vice president, state government affairs, for Autism Speaks.

Why they do it: The investment and retail bank began offering autism benefits to its 160,000 U.S. employees starting on Jan. 1, 2014, following a well-received autism awareness event that took place inside the firm in 2013. “It was so well-received that people asked for autism coverage in the medical plan, and we launched that [in 2014]. We continue to see very happy families and employees,” says Lyn Marie Pilgrim, executive director, benefits design & strategy, JPMorgan Chase.

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Boxed

Their unique focus: Unconventional perks that ease employees’ financial stress

Perks include: The company pays for the college tuition of employees’ children as well as wedding expenses of unmarried employees.

Why they do it: “Our goal is to strengthen the overall employer-employee bond,” says Boxed CEO Chieh Huang. “I think paying for college tuition and wedding expenses helps us do that.”
The company’s unconventional approach to benefits, Huang says, is simply the right thing to do. “I realized only two people out of 20 could afford private transportation to get to work,” he says. “Even if we doubled their salary, these people couldn’t afford a car or a college education for their kids. So I decided to do something about it.”

PwC

Their unique focus: Student loan debt repayment benefits

Leading a trend: Student debt is a huge and growing problem in the U.S., with average student debt at an all-time high of over $37,000. With new workers entering the workforce with fresh debt — and older workers still under financial stress as they pay their loans — employers are beginning to see the toll the debt is taking and doing something about it.

Perks include: PwC will contribute $100 per month ($1,200 per year) for up to six years (a maximum of $7,200) to help nonmanagement employees pay down their student loans. PwC pays the money directly to its employees’ student loan servicer, the middlemen who collect payments.

Comcast

Their unique focus: Entertainment perks in addition to its robust benefits package

“Fun” perks include: Comcast employees in serviceable areas get free XFINITY TV and Internet services, as well as discounted voice and home options — an annual savings of about $3,000, the cable giant says. Employees also get discounted tickets to the Universal Orlando and Hollywood theme parks, as well as 20% off Fandango gift cards.

Why a combination of benefits is important: “We have a very diverse population that we need to offer benefits for and take into consideration,” says Jill Personett, senior director of benefit design and strategy at Comcast.

Fun fact: The cable provider has a benefits committee that determines what perks will be offered.

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Aflac

Their unique offering: Professional development

Perks include: For its female employees, the insurer holds a “women’s tea” where women gather with female executives to discuss career development and challenges women face in the workplace. Aflac also holds “men’s coffee” meetings where men come together to hear from male executives about workplace issues and strategy. “We talk about personal development and how people can advance their careers,” says chief resource officer Matthew Owenby.

Why they do it: “If you take care of employees, they will take care of the business,” Owenby says.

What impact it’s having: Aflac’s goal of engaging and retaining workers is clearly working: The average tenure at the insurance firm is 18 years."

Microsoft

Their big offering: A 401(k) with a generous match

What’s new: In January, Microsoft increased the company’s 401(k) match program, matching 50% of employee deferrals up to $9,000 per year. That’s a significant increase from the company’s previous employer match, which was 50% of the first 6% employees deferred, to a maximum of 3% of pay.

Why they changed the program: The decision to increase the 401(k) match was based largely on a desire to equalize healthcare and retirement benefits, says Sonja Kellen, director of global retirement benefits for Microsoft. “We review our benefits portfolio every year, looking at it holistically in terms of the investment we’re making from a cost perspective, but also how we’re benchmarking among our peers,” she says. “We wanted to balance it out a little bit more. Our health plan is incredibly generous; we find [it] to be one of the best in the industry. We wanted to make sure that we had equally as much investment in our financial benefits.”

Fun fact: The company offers immediate enrollment in the 401(k) plan, with 100% vesting from day one.

La Macchia Enterprises

Their big focus: Wellness

How it’s working: Nearly every employee — more than 95% of the workforce — participates in the company’s wellness program. That’s because, says Shawn Gulyas, La Macchia’s vice president of human resources, wellness is ingrained in its culture.

Wellness as a way of life: There are daily wellness tips on the company’s website. Walking meetings are the norm, and the company hosts an annual “Wellness Action Day,” a daylong event for employees and their families that features wellness vendors, healthy snacks and fitness games.