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Nice Companies Don't Finish Last A Look at Assistance That Works

October 1, 1995
Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Featured Article
Acts of kindness can pay off for both employees and their companies-they just must be chosen carefully. Here's a look at a handful of proven success stories:

Flexible Work Arrangements
According to AWHP's Worksite Health, Spring 1995:

  • Englehard's chemical plants in Huntsville, Alabama, reduced absenteeism from an average of 20 days to three and turnover to less than 1% annually by introducing a cluster of initiatives, most notably compressed workweeks.
  • After 15 months of flexible scheduling, the Residual Markets Center division of Continental Corp. reported a 15% increase in productivity.

According to AWHP's Worksite Health, Spring 1995:

  • Fel-Pro Inc. found that employees who use multiple work-family benefits have better performance ratings and participate more in quality efforts than those who don't.
  • Corning estimates it saves $2 million a year in increased retention of employees due to career-family initiatives, and also finds a strong correlation between usage of work-family benefits and high job performance.

According to EAP Digest, January-February 1995:

  • Utah Power and Light's EAP program gets a $3.73 return on every dollar invested. This return includes a savings of $34.46 per person per month in time off and $39.53 per person per month in reduced medical costs for the EAP users.
  • R.R. Donnelley & Sons factories found the company's initial investment of $54,000 in an EAP showed a return of $1.61 for each dollar invested in the program's first year.

Other Innovations

According to Financial Executive, May-June 1993:

  • Atlanta-based Camberley Hotel Co. began in 1993 to tie its 401(k) contributions to company performance. Employees still contribute biweekly through payroll deduction, but at the end of the year if the company has made its operating profit goals, the company pays 50% of the employee contributions. If the company is ahead of budget, the company contributes more, depending on the percentage of profit.
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Safe Harbor Water Power Corp. finances an employee-benefits fund at no company cost. The fund allows retirees to get a lump-sum payment of $1,500 upon leaving the company. Other little extras, such as bereavement money for flowers or charitable gifts, are also supplied by the fund. How is this supported? By the company's vending machines, no less, placed around the plant for employee use, but also on the plant's grounds, which are open to visitors for fishing. "On our fishing bridge, we get about 23,000 people visiting a year, and of course, in our inimitable wisdom, we've put a vending machine on that bridge," says HR Director Hilmar Hagen.

Personnel Journal, October 1995, Vol. 74, No. 10, p. 94.

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