Show Me the Money! 218 Perks vs. Cash Why do perks work as motivators? Why not give the employees cash bonuses and let them purchase or lease their own car, pay their own dues to the country club, or buy what they wish? Companies have found that most employees like receiving perks. If they did get a cash equivalent, they would probably use it to pay bills or fritter it away. Perks keep reminding them that the company is giving them something. Every time they step into the company car, it reinforces their loyalty to the company. Every time they pass the day care bill to the accounting department, they thank the com- pany for taking that burden off them. The company can benefit as well because it can save money by taking advantage of group rates in leasing cars and purchasing merchandise. In addition, many perks attract hard-to-find personnel to the company. Marilyn, a skilled operating room nurse, chose to work for South Shore Hospital because it provided a day care facility for her three-year-old son. Ken accepted a slightly lower salary at his new company because he was al- lowed to bring his dog to work. Sean isn't looking to change jobs because he loves the golf club for which his organization pays his dues. Do perks give incentive for higher productivity? There are no studies showing that perks motivate productivity, but companies believe that the loyalty and stability perks engender contribute in the long run to the bottom line. Perks should not be confused with benefits. Benefits such as pensions, health care, and life insur- ance are part of the compensation package. Today almost all large companies provide these stand- ard benefits. Perks usually are add-ons to make life more pleasant for employees. FYI In a study for the American Society of Interior Designers, 41 percent of job applicants said the office environ- ment would affect their desire to accept a job. Teams That Play Together Stay Together One way to develop team spirit is to engage in recreational activities as a team. Bowling leagues, softball teams, and other sports activities are frequently sponsored by companies. If team members enter these programs as a team, it could add a little fun to the job and cement the relationship among team members. Carrie was not much of an athlete, and when her team entered the relay race at the company picnic, she was afraid she would do badly, embarrass herself, and lose the respect of her teammates. She confided her worries to her colleague, Beverly, the informal leader, who reassured her that her teammates would help her. Before the picnic, the team practiced running and gave Carrie some tips on improving her techniques. When her turn came to run, the team cheered her on, and she did fine. Recreational programs need not be formal. It's not necessary or even advisable for team members to spend all of their free time together. But, occasional parties or attendance at a sports event or concert helps the members know each other as total humans, not just coworkers.