Occasionally, when we have a new client come on board, we receive questions regarding how they should structure compensation and benefits, and it usually revolves around salary, incentive bonus, and perhaps health insurance and vacation. When looking at attracting talent, this focus on compensation and benefits can quickly become a Red Ocean of competitive fighting with other firms pursuing the same talent. I suggest instead, pursuing a Blue Ocean strategy of avoiding the competition and creating something new instead – by focusing on and emphasizing culture as a key part of the overall compensation package.
A good place to start is work/life blend. It is well-documented that "Strategic Renewal" or daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations boosts productivity, health, and morale 1. Taking care of clients is hard work, and it is important for you not to burn out your staff or yourself! These down times can allow the mind to gain a different perspective, help stoke creativity to solve difficult problems, and boost energy levels. Consider allowing 10-15 minute breaks (we have one employee at our firm who is much more productive when he works out and does Yoga) for time for walks during the day, lunch breaks away from workstations , and time for power naps (yes, some companies allow this!). If your employees complete their assigned work for the day, let them knock off a few hours early. If they did well on a project, acknowledge it, provide an overview of their next project, and give them a little extra time outside the office to think about how to approach it.
Here are some other ideas that I have seen other firms employ, and have even experienced in my own career, which have assisted in building an employee-centric culture:
• Place a pool table/ping pong table/air hockey table/video game console in the break room. Sometimes employees need to blow off some steam or just have fun for a few moment prior to getting back to it.
• Buy lunches for your employees and allow them time away from their desks to share a meal and bond with their co-workers. This reinforces to employees that it is not all just about the bottom line all of the time and promotes synergy.
• If your employees don't have any client meetings for the day, let them work from home. Telecommuting and open vacation are being utilized successfully by many firms. Check out the Liberated CEO by Scott Leonard, CFP® of Navigoe, LLC http://bit.ly/LiberatedCEO
• As part of the benefits package, include an annual pass to a local entertainment venue, tickets to local sporting events, an annual pass to a local state park/national park, a membership at a gym, etc. Find out what is important to your employees before doing this.
Stay tuned next month for more on how to use your culture/design your culture to recruit great hires.
• Caleb, Michael, and Viet will be attending the FPA National Conference in Seattle, WA from September 20th-22nd. Caleb will be presenting "Strategies for Positioning Your Firm to Succeed in the War for Talent" on Saturday, September 20th, from 2:15PM - 3:15PM PT. Hope to see you there!
• Caleb will be attending Bob Veres' Insider's Forum in Dallas, TX from September 9th-11th