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Company Perks

Company Perks

Company Perks

I work for a mid sized MEP consulting firm.  We're looking for some perks to offer to our young engineers when they get their PEs.  We've found the market to be very competitive right now and we just can't offer the same salaries as the huge firms in nearby cities. So, we're looking for some perks to give us an edge (no matter how small) to retain our current PE's and attract new.  Up to this point, we offer a standard raise and rely on the quality of our work, reputation, and office environment to keep them home.

We've talked about some of the standards (bonus, more vacation) and some things out of the box (purchasing a beach house and allowing our PEs to use it)..  really, we're open for anything so I thought I'd try and steal some good ideas from you all!


RE: Company Perks

Nothing is better than a stake in the company.  Stock options are often a motivator if they happen rarely enough not to become an entitlement.


RE: Company Perks

"Nothing is better than a stake in the company"

I could not agree more.  In fact,  that is why I am leaving my current firm.  Both of my hands are held out...one has a stake the other does not.  There is nothing sexier than a stake in the business.

I am not talking about handouts...just the option to buy is enough.  People who stay around for beads and trinkets (generalizing here) are not the folks to keep around.

RE: Company Perks

..in addition to previous suggestions (to which I highly agree): easy and simple to take days, or half days off, coming later some days, free placing of vacation time etc. Provided, of course ,that the total adds up.

In our company this has given two distinct result: turnover going down and mean working hours going up..

(The company is Scandinavian based)

RE: Company Perks

Discriminating against certain grades does nothing for the general morale of a company so giving benefits to PEs alone would be a bad idea in my book. However, if monetary rewards aren't sufficient then status does help. A promotion or new name always helps, perhaps something along the lines of Principal Engineer as a new title. Their own office also helps in the status game. Other than that flexitime helps but is difficult to monitor for management. Personally I wouldn't offer options to buy shares in the company as these bonuses can often have little value as the stock market does go up and down and again you're relying on monetary gain to keep people which isn't the remit. A bonus of additional holidays after so many years service does help though as people value their free time, more than money. Don't make the period too long though.


RE: Company Perks

The bottom line is that PE's typically work hard to obtain their license and in turn usually have a great work ethic and work hard for whatever company they may be working for. This being the case, I would imagine they would want to be compensated fairly, and by fairly, I mean they would be looking for a competitive wage or the going rate for their experience and expertise. I think money is the good old fashioned motivator. If you have someone you do not want to lose, you challenge them and pay them what they are worth. Of course, I have to agree with the previous posts that a stake in the company would far outweigh anything else, but not everyone company wants to grow by adding partners. Any smart company would keep their superstars as employees as long as they could before offering a stake in the firm or partnership. I think it's great that you're thinking of alternatives, but regular stays at a beachhouse would not keep me at a company if I was being underpaid. Another idea for you: Maybe telecommuting would keep some of your employees happy. Best of luck to you.   

RE: Company Perks

No one at our company is underpaid, but the fact is, if you jump ship, you'll make more than you will from a standard raise. I don't think that's unique to us. But what I meant by us not being competitive is that we're a mid size company serving regional clients.  We cannot compete financially with companies serving national clients charging huge rates. We pay very competitive with similar sized firms.

Stake in the company is a very good idea.  

We actually are looking for beads and trinkets. We feel we pay our employees as best and fairly as we can, but there are probably a bunch of things we could do to slightly "enhance" our employee experience (company car, extra vacation, etc) at a reasonable cost.

The goal isn't to attract sick-o's like myself who are motivated by work and the desire to spend all their free time learning and getting better at their job.  A company like mine can only have so many owners. We also need some quality "worker bees," and are looking for some perks to add a little motivation.

We're not looking to try to "trick" people into working for us, just add a little.  For example, we started cashing in credit card points from company expense accounts for gift cards, etc that we hand out to employees for various reasons.  It doesn't really affect us financially and it doesn't really add much to any employee's quality of life, but it's nice. People like it.

I do believe the little things make a difference.  And "yes," I use too many "quotes."  Leave me alone

RE: Company Perks

The beach house won't be good to everybody.  If you set a money cap and offer a variety of things (hopefully including cash); after one offering you will have more idea of what they want.  But things like computers, books, and tools of the trade are nice.

Business Card     http://mech.e.tripod.com
Cycle Heaven.......www.tailofthedragon.com

RE: Company Perks

I love the company I'm with (about 90 people)... one neat-o perks there (though not necessarily PE-specific) would be monthly company updates with catered lunch (15 minutes of hearing how the company is doing, what's in store for the next few months, etc., followed by BBQ, deli sandwiches, etc.).  It serves several purposes, obviously keeping employees in-the-know on how "their" company is doing, giving them a bit of time to kick back and talk with each other, and a free lunch.

We're scheduled next month to go to a company picnic, followed by seats for the Orioles vs. Nationals game.  Last Christmas they rented out a bowling alley and the first few drinks were on the house (every other Christmas is a fancy dressup, the next dress down).

My point is find some activities that maybe only the PEs can share in, such as a local day trip, catered lunch, etc.  It sets them apart from the crowd, makes them feel special, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  Even if some don't like what's planned one month (sports hold zero interest for me), they'll probably like something in the coming months.

Dan - Owner

RE: Company Perks

Offer 9 hour work days Monday thru Thursday and then 1/2 day on Friday. In the companies I've worked for, Friday afternoon has never been a productive time anyway.

If you have the space, give all the licensed engineers a real office.  As much as I try not to let it bother me, as my company has provided me very nice office space, even the biggest and best cubical is still a cubical.  I can't help resenting working in one.  This could be very attractive to younger engineers who have never had real walls and a door.

Provide your PE's with cell phones, and allow personal use. Its also a good way to keep in touch with them on Friday afternoon after the left the office and are at the bar.

Also I'd second Macgyvers2000 suggestion about company updates with a catered lunch.  A company I worked did the same thing with donuts in the morning one day every month, it was very effective in making us feel important and part of the company.

RE: Company Perks

We had several months of "crunch time" recently as we rolled out a new series of products.  All engineers and a number of tech staff we're staying long past 5:00, but spirits were surprisingly high... everyone pitched in were they could, not just engineering.  For example, the two wonderful ladies in accounting took turns, one on Monday and one on Wednesday, making us home-cooked meals.  This was a huge undertaking for them every week as they were serving easily 30 people, and we're not talking simple hot dogs and chips here... there was always desert of some kind (the homemade apple pies rocked!), and plenty of sides (potato salad, hand-tossed salads, etc.) to go around.

Granted, this was a somewhat unique situation, but something as simple as a home-cooked meal does wonders convincing a hard-working employee how much they're values when they're stuck away from home (especially if their SO doesn't know how to cook ;) ).

Dan - Owner

RE: Company Perks

You didn't say where you are, so this might not be all ther good a perk.

Reserved parking spot.

Even better, paid reserved parking spot.

And bestest covered paid reserved parking spot.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Company Perks


You must be located in one of the southern states.  What I would give for covered parking.  My parking is free, but if I worked downtown, definitely having it paid for!!!



RE: Company Perks

In addition to a bonus (whatever you think it's worth), make sure you pay better than the government (Grade 14 + locality pay is the going rate for PE's), the governmnet is you biggest competitor with PE's, 80% of turnover I've seen recently were going to the government. When people get the PE, they don't want to feel underpaid.

What does a PE license worth to you? if this person were to leave, a replacement (assuming he'll work out) will take at least 6 months before he gets the hang on the way you do things at your place. Is it really worth losing a good engineer because of $10,000.00? it all depends on their work habits and knowledge, etc. of course.

For the real good engineers that you want to keep, get them into a quarterly bonus package, people are not patient enough to wait the end of the year bonus (if you have one), not to mention that they are highly suspicious of the boss's promises.

You've got three months, if in 3 months they don't see tangible difference in their buying power, they will be flipping through the Sunday ads.

Keep in mind, the headhunters know all new PE's and they are after them with a very big carrot.

RE: Company Perks

It is obvious from the different posts perks are different for everyone.  Pressed's post said basically the same thing.  Some would like a trip to Disneyland with the family; others would like a trip to Vegas alone.  Some want cash in the pocket; others want a week’s vacation.  Some may want stock options; others simply want the freedom to go to their kids recitals or games.  

I don’t know exactly how many people you are dealing with but it sounds like you could sit down with them and find out what is important to the individual.  The real value of the personalized perk is that the engineer decides what is best for them, and it shows that the company is looking out for the individual engineer.  There is difficulty in making the various perks equal, but a dollar figure can be found for most situations.  The personal touch you can give as a small to mid sized firm can give you the edge that you are looking for over the larger more structured firms.

RE: Company Perks

I agree with 655321!

Where I work right now, we also offer "real" flex time.  Some opt for 4/10's others (including me) choose 4/9's and a 4 and others still work straight 8's.

It's easy for the company and fortunatly, we have very cooperative clients.

It's tough to leave when you see the value of the 1/2 day Friday.  


RE: Company Perks


Actually, I was thinking of Phoenix - so I guess SW. smile

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Company Perks

Really a stake in the company is a lot sexier sounding than it acually is. People don't realize all the effort that goes into running a business. Some engineers would be good to have as part owners others would be horrible. Extending corperate ownership should be carefully considered descion, not a perk.
Everyone's motivation is different. Money often works, but only to a point, and as you have found out is the lowest common denominator is job comparison.
Most people get their PE because they want more control over their work. I would suggest once someone gets their PE, the department head talks to them about what thy would like to do and a path to get there. This would benifit both you and the employee. Many (but not all) will pass up higher saleries for a work enviornment where they feel they have some control and voice in the process. Basically, once someone gets a PE, give him (or her) the oppertunity to be a PE.
One tangible perk that can have benifit for the company is to send them to a seminar or conference to further their professional development a play a round of golf.

RE: Company Perks

I was thinking Phoenix, too.  But I didn't want to give away my location so quickly.

A balmy 102F today.



RE: Company Perks

Take a note from the big companies:

Organise luchtime professional development webinars so that the PE's can keep up with their professional development requirements.

Offer 'night out on the town' rewards for the employee of the year or every 6 months. Say $200 voucher to a local posh restaurant or theater tickets.

Take an interest in your employees careers not just what they can do for you. Hold 6 monthly reviews and seriously look at what each employees experience and strengths/weaknesses are try to give employees work that will develop them as engineers. This will make them feel that they are in a company that cares about their career.

Take the team out for drinks every couple of months - helps develop team spirit - not to be underestimated, I have often been reluctant to leave a workplace because of this type of atmosphere.

Flexible working hours and additional holidays every couple of years served are also great ideas (as mentioned above).

An alternative to ownership is profit sharing (possibly going up with years served up to some maximum amount). This way they reap some benefit and feel a sense of ownership without having a say in the running of the company.

RE: Company Perks

Giving stock can be a double edged sword.  It sounds great until the tax ramification kick in.  I'm with an LLC based in out of state that made me a very small% partner so they did not have to become a corp. (& pay taxes) in my home state.  They grossed me up to compenstae for the additional SSI I would have to pay, but I still got killed.

My taxes tripled in one year, resulting in a loss in net income of several thousand dollars.  Don't take stock or offer it unless your share will be large enough that the ownership inclome will out weigh the taxes burden that's going to hit you.  I don't know what the magic number is, but once your in my situation buying more stock to get out of it becomes impossible.

RE: Company Perks

Another problem with stock/stake in the firm.  If it's a fairly small firm where your individiual input makes a big difference then it may be a motivator.  However for a larger company where it relies more on the effort of the whole it wouldn't necessarily be so tempting.  

I work for midsize company with several hundred employees.  They have both profit sharing and stock purchase schemes.  However there are still plenty of people around who don't work as hard, waste time & money etc and generally affect the bottom line as well as some management decisions that don't seem particulary logical.  It can be very disheartening when part of your compensation is tied to performance of the whole company, you're working your butt off but the guy across from you isn't yet reaps pretty much the same rewards.

RE: Company Perks

Thats why someone invented KPI' s (Key performance indexes) as a measure of an individuals contributions. They are not perfect but if done right they do give a reasonable indication of the individuals effort.

If done wrongly then smart individuals will focus on the KPI's to the detriment of all else.


RE: Company Perks

What salary range do you have the new PE's on? What's the difference to the larger firms?

RE: Company Perks

Some Ideas:

Free ISP for fast internet access and free subscription to firewall and quality antivirus software service.

If it costs to maintain PE, annual classes or renewal fees pick up cost.

Arrangement to purchase computers or software at company rate.

RE: Company Perks

The class fee pickup has promise, but the other two fall short, IMHO.  Saving me $40/month on high-speed ISP fees and $50/yr on an anti-virus subscription is hardly my idea of a major perk.  A few hundred dollars saved once every couple of years for computer equipment is also not a major perk in my eye.  Maybe combined with a few other smallish items it has potential...

Dan - Owner

RE: Company Perks

How about providing both short-term and long-term disability insurance.  It's quite inexpensive as a company-owned group policy (about 1% of payroll,) but it shows that you care about your employees.  It's also nice to have when someone gets cancer, etc., and you won't feel like a heel when you have to "let them go."

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