compensation

HR, career, jobs

Salary is more than just your Paycheck

There’s more to a salary than just a paycheck. Often perks and benefits are better than cash (and are generally tax-free).   Yes, the idea of another zero on the end of your salary is great, but company perks add great value to day-to-day life and ultimately lead to a huge difference in employee retention, productivity, and satisfaction.

One simple example everyone can relate to is lunch.  My estimated savings, because of employer provided catered lunch three days a week, really adds up in more ways than you’d think.

            $15 (daily lunch cost, not including meal & tax)
x              3 (days of the week)
            --------
            $45 (a week)

            $45 (a week)
x            48 (weeks of work)
            -------
            $2,160 (annual lunch cost)

            $2,160 (annual lunch cost)
+          $324 (15% tip for delivery)
            -------
            $2,484 estimated lunch cost

That’s a $2,484 (at minimum) tax-free addition to my salary!

The financial savings is great, but I also don’t have to buy as many groceries and deal with uneaten leftovers.  I no longer have to worry about planning lunches the night before or preparing something that morning; sleep is VERY important to me, so not having the “what do I make for lunch that’s tasty and healthy” on my mind all night is big relief.

Previous and current work in tech and human resources industries provides insights into the evolution of benefits companies offer.   Often perks are initially overlooked and don’t become part of the conversation until salary negotiations.  Talking about the full package—not just the salary—is something that both businesses and potential employees should discuss as part of the company culture earlier in the interview process.

Every company has their own take on what makes employees happy.  To retain the best talent in a changing and growing workforce means a continual and ongoing development of benefits.  I encourage both sides of the table to begin talking about the whole compensation package—salary, benefits, and perks—sooner can shed a lot of light on how a company treats its employees and how the culture is shaped.

Before and during your job search, think realistically about which perks and benefits would make a significant impact on your day-to-day (or year-to-year) work life!

TL:DR

Think about the bigger picture about how perks and benefits a company offers could impact your life rather than considering a new role based on salary alone.

Some fantastic perks and benefits might include:

  • in office kegs and other free alcohol
  • pet friendly offices
  • remote work
  • ergonomic furniture
  • couches and other non-desk work areas
  • sabbaticals
  • educational reimbursement
  • free food and snacks
  • and more!
  • Paid vacation time
  • flexible work schedule
  • pre-tax transit benefits
  • healthcare, dental, and vision, benefits
  • company swag
  • company events
  • gym memberships & discounts
  • cell phone reimbursement
  • paid paternity and maternity leave

 

HR, internships

Do I Have to Pay Interns? (You Should.)

This is the fourth installment in a five part series about how to cultivate excellent interns.

Do I have to pay interns?

The payment of interns is an ongoing debate and a contested issue.  There are many types of internships, with different genres and sizes of companies with varying degrees of hands-on, real world experience.  The variance makes it difficult give a simple answer to this question.  Legally, the government states what determines whether the interns must be paid wages.

All companies should respond, “YES! Pay them! Interns are awesome!”  But that’s not always an option.  Are you a small company or a bootstrapping startup?  Are finances keeping the office on a tight budget yet there is much to be done, many hats to wear, a multitude of areas to learn in, and a busy but personable environment?

I’m biased on this topic. The programs I’ve developed and managed have been while working with startups.  Whether an internship is paid, unpaid, or stipend based, a program should include all of the following:

  • Hands on work that interests and stimulates the intern
  • An office space that’s not physically isolated
  • Integration of interns with team lunches, active participation in meetings to learn and observe, and encouragement to freely contribute ideas, thoughts, and suggestions
  • A relaxed environment where they feel comfortable talk to other employees
  • An effort to make sure interns feel valuable to the company while also finding worth in their experiences
  • End of program evaluations reviewing the outcomes of their work, the skills they demonstrated and strengthened, and how they enhanced the work of the organization

Does a company have to pay interns?  No.  Should a company pay interns?  Heck yes.  Anyone contributing to your company should be fairly compensated in some capacity.  With a well run internship program, Interns help to strengthen skills of current employees and add positively to company culture. 

The fifth installment of “5 Questions to Cultivate Excellent Interns” will outline how and what to look for in interns to ensure they’ll contribute to your company in a productive and engaging manner.

jobs, career, internships

An Unexpectedly Empowering Conversation with an Intern.

Today I had an unexpectedly empowering conversation with an intern.

She, lets call her Jane, contacted me a week earlier over Eko messenger and said, “I don't feel like I’m a good fit here.”  When asked about specific concerns that could be addressed in that moment, she deferred, asking to wait to talk in person.  I made an active choice not to read anything into Jane’s comments and to wait (albeit anxiously) for our in-person meeting the following week.

Seated in a small private conference room, I inquired what was on her mind, asking Jane to be as forthright as possible.  She brought up issues of compensation, not feeling comfortable with the possibility of other interns being compensated differently, and the lack of communication between the interns themselves about the topic of compensation.

The discussion of these topics did not catch me off guard.  What was surprising is the fact that of all my interns Jane was the one to address the subject directly. Jane is very productive and an active member of our intern community but her interactions with our full time staff members and me had been minimal and timid.

 

Pride and openness were my initial reaction to her comments.

 

I told her that whether or not this conversatio­n ends with achieving her desired outcomes, it is extraordinarily important that she advocated on her own behalf.  I told her how proud I was of her candor and ability to approach me directly.  She nodded and verbalized understanding while I underscored the importance of this skill, especially as a female, a millennial, and a woman working in the tech industry, and that a conversation is a great place to start.

 

“I shouldn’t be guilty for asking for more money, should I?” she asked.

 

I responded with a resounding no, also acknowledging that when asking for a raise or promotion, it is important to support the “why” with reasoning (the Human Resources side of me went into coaching mode).  After reviewing her current compensation and her ideal compensation, we left the conversation as ‘to be continued’ pending a conversation with my managers.

After the meeting, I walked back to my desk feeling proud and excited on Jane’s behalf.  She was comfortable enough with me as her manager to ask for a conversation and to speak candidly.  Jane asked questions seeking information, not just answers.  Most importantly, she took her life and career into her own hands for the better.

I am part of Jane’s career path and have cultivated an environment where her success is possible.  This conversation is part of both Jane and my accomplishments, present and future.

Through one conversation, Jane inspired me to do more and to be better.  Through one conversation she empowered herself and her future.