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  • 14 Mar 2017 8:42 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    The Best Perk At America's Best Employers Is The One You Don't See

    Carmine Gallo ,   CONTRIBUTOR

    America’s best employers don’t create jobs; they make meaning  and that’s why these companies have the happiest and most engaged employees in the country.

    Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    At a recent dinner party a pilot for Southwest Airlines (#13 on the Forbes list of America's Best Employers 2016) turned to me and excitedly showed me an email from CEO Gary Kelly. Kelly addressed the email to the pilot and copied about five other people, including the pilot’s boss. The email contained a letter from a woman who shared an experience about her brother—recently paralyzed in an auto accident—and the wonderful treatment he had received from the pilot and the entire crew.

    Kelly’s email is part of the Southwest way of building and maintaining a customer-focused culture. The email is a key component of Southwest’s “Kick Tail” recognition and awards program. Being recognized for a job well done goes beyond the usual perks and benefits you expect to see in corporate America and yet, in many ways, it’s more valuable. Employees who see that their daily jobs have mission and purpose go the extra mile.  The evidence is clear: purpose fueled companies grow faster, have more engaged workplaces, enjoy higher profits and productivity, and have far less turnover.

    Free food, on-site gyms, and tuition reimbursements are all nice to have and employees cherish those perks, but America’s Best Employers offer something far more valuable—a life of meaning.

    “Ninety-five percent of my assets drive out the gate every evening. It’s my job to maintain a work environment that keeps those people coming back every morning,” according to Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute (#6 Best Employer 2016). Leaders at SAS have discovered that how employees feel about the company’s role in the world drives innovation and builds loyalty.

    According to the SAS careers website, “If you have to spend, on average, 54% of your waking hours at work, why not do something meaningful – that you can be proud of?” SAS leaders and HR teams cultivate a culture of purpose through sharing stories of how SAS software makes a difference in the lives of people around the world: “Our analytics software helps organizations make the kinds of important decisions that drive change each and every day – like how to capture the bad guys, keep kids safe, feed the hungry, and even ensure that people who struggle to learn are not lost.”

    SAS headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, is a self-contained city. It has a hair salon, fitness center, Olympic-size heated pool and much more. That’s what you can see, but when I’ve spoken to SAS employees it becomes clear that what you can’t see makes the difference in how employees view their employer. Goodnight said it best:  “SAS employees are driven and feel challenged to explore how they can make a difference in people’s lives.”

    Two weeks ago I sat down with a group of employees at Google, which ranks #2 on this year’s list of America’s Best Employers. We enjoyed a gourmet meal at one of the 30 cafeterias that serves free food at its Mountain View CA headquarters. The employees were almost all under thirty years old.

    “You must love the free food,” I said.

    “It’s great, but that’s not why I work here,” one young man responded. “To be a part of something that’s changing the world; that’s really cool!”

    Perks are nice, but purpose counts more.

    “We have a really caring culture that breeds a lot of collaboration,” says Rod Nichols, human resources director at Marathon Petroleum, the #1 Best Employer In America. Marathon maintains the caring culture by continually reinforcing the fact that for Marathon employees, their work has meaning. Marathon has some of the happiest employees in America because a majority of them can confidently say their jobs make the world a better place.

    The accounting firm KPMG (#16 in the professional services category) is one of the best examples I’ve come across recently of a workplace built on purpose. In this Harvard Business Review case study, human resources directors at KPMG concluded that “A workforce motivated by a strong sense of higher purpose is essential to engagement.” The firm launched an initiative to help leaders create that sense of purpose. The first step was to answer the simple question: What do we do at KPMG? The answer can be found in this videoWe shape history.

    The second step was to launch the 10,000 Stories Challenge, asking employees and partners to submit their stories of how KPMG makes a difference in people’s lives. “Most importantly, we recognized that just telling people from the top down about their higher purpose would not succeed. We encouraged everyone—from our interns to our Chairman—to share their own stories about how their work is making a difference,” according to Bruce Pfau, KPMG’s vice chair of Human Resources. The result? Employee engagement has risen to record levels at KPMG.

    There is no question that employees love great perks: free food, discounts, reimbursements, generous vacation and maternity leave policies. These perks are closely correlated with employee engagement because it shows that the company’s leaders care for an employee’s well-being. But as Southwest co-founder Herb Kelleher once expressed: “Competitors can buy tangible assets, but they can’t buy culture.”

    “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible,” according to Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks (#2 best employer in the restaurant category). Schultz makes a powerful observation. Leaders, if you want to be considered one of the best employers in your industry, focus on building a culture of purpose. Perks bring people in the door, but purpose builds brand loyalty.

    Carmine Gallo is a keynote speaker, communication advisor and bestselling author of “Talk Like TED” and The Storyteller's Secret. Sign up for his newsletter at


    The above articleis from Forbes:

  • 13 Mar 2017 2:00 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Parental, Caregiving Leave Benefits Unchanged Since 2012

    March 8, 2017 — While many well-known companies are promoting their expansion of paid-leave benefits, the average amount of parental and caregiving leave provided by U.S. employers hasn't changed significantly since 2012.

    "Whether high-profile companies offering paid leave are out of step with the majority of employers or leading the way remains to be seen," said Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and author of the "National Study of Employers."

    FWI designed and conducted the study on how employers are responding to the changing workforce. Released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Galinsky said that, while it appears a trend has started, the study found otherwise.

    "Given our findings that 78% of employers reported difficulty in recruiting employees for highly skilled jobs and 38% reported difficulty in recruiting entry-level, hourly jobs … high-profile companies could be leading the way," she said, referring to Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson and others that have expanded their parental leave.

    The maximum length of paid or unpaid parental and caregiving leave was recorded in 2005. Since then, maternity, paternity, adoption and caregiving leave have all declined. Today, the average number of weeks of maternity leave is four and a half, and a little more than 11 weeks is the average leave for a spouse/partner (paternity leave).

    In the past 11 years, the number of organizations offering at least some replacement pay for women on maternity leave has increased 12 percentage points, from 46% to 58%, Galinsky said. But the study also found that, among employers offering any replacement pay, the percentage offering full pay has continued to decline from 17% in 2005 to 10% in 2016.

    Telework also has been in the news in the past couple of years and, despite several big-name companies dropping their telework options, 40% of employers allow employees to work some of their paid hours at home on a regular basis. This is up from 33% in 2012, according to the study.

    Of the 18 forms of flexibility assessed, there were few changes between 2012 and 2016, representing a pause in the growth of flexibility. In addition to regular work at home two forms of flexibility have increased:

    • The percentage of employers allowing employees to return to work gradually after the birth of a child or adoption (from 73% in 2012 to 81% in 2016)
    • The percentage of employers allowing employees to receive special consideration after a career break for personal/family responsibilities (from 21% in 2012 to 28% in 2016).

    One form of flexibility decreased during this time, according to the study: the percentage of employers allowing employees to take time off during the workday to attend to important family or personal needs without loss of pay, which declined from 87% in 2012 to 81% in 2016.

    "While more employers are being supportive in how employees return from parental and caregiving leave, there is less support for flexibility during the workday," Galinsky said. "What people need most is time off during the day, and fewer are getting it."

    One finding that may have contributed to the pause in flexibility was a drop in management support for flexible work arrangements, a drop from 31% in 2005 to 14% in 2016.

    Lack of management support is a theme WorldatWork also found in its 2015 "Trends in Workplace Flexibility" report. Of the 3% of organizations without flexibility programs, resistance from management and lack of jobs conducive to flexible work arrangements were frequently cited by respondents. Top management tended to be a bigger barrier than middle management, often acting as an obstacle to telework programs, according to the WorldatWork report.

    "This is worrisome because having policies is not enough," Galinsky said. "Without management support, employees can't use policies. This suggests the need for more training for supervisors and others who manage employees."

    Rose Stanley, CBP, WLCP, WorldatWork senior practice leader, agreed with Galinsky about the need for additional training. "Flexibility training for managers and employees is a rarity in many organizations."

    Contents © 2017 WorldatWork. For more information, contact the Copyright Department at WorldatWork.

  • 11 Feb 2017 3:27 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Source: ...

    PUBLISHED ON: FEB 8, 2017

    This Year's Top 20 Company Perks for Employees

    It's not just about parking spaces anymore.

    By Suzanne Lucas 

    CREDIT: Getty Images

    Glassdoor pulled together a list of some pretty great perks that it describes as going "beyond the basics" and entering "legendary status." While I'm not quite sure all of these reach legendary status, I will say that most are pretty awesome.

    1. IKEA offers up to four months of paid parental leave to both part-time and full-time employees who have at least one year of experience at the company, regardless of whether they work at a retail store or the corporate headquarters.

    Why this is "legendary": The thing I like most about this perk is that it hits two neglected categories--part-time employees and retail employees. Lots of times, big companies announce major perks but limit them to the highest-paid people. I'm happy to see part-time and retail employees getting a great perk.

    2. Reebok encourages employees to reach their personal fitness goals by providing an onsite gym with CrossFit classes.

    Why this is "legendary": Gyms are common. CrossFit is unique. Plus, it goes with the overall company culture and product lines.

    3. Bain & Company, the Best Place to Work in 2017, holds an annual two-day, global "Bain World Cup" soccer tournament open to all employees. Last year's event was in Brussels. The 2017 tournament will be held in Los Angeles.

    Why this is "legendary": This is definitely a unique perk. However, I'm going to say this one isn't as awesome as Glassdoor thinks, because it's limited to one sport and doesn't appeal to the whole population. That said, since Bain is Glassdoor's Best Place to Work in 2017, this is clearly not the only perk.

    4. Goldman Sachs offers coverage for gender reassignment surgery, a benefit the company has offered since 2008.

    Why this is "legendary": If you want gender reassignment surgery, start working on landing a job at Goldman Sachs. This is a rare benefit.

    5. Facebook provides health care coverage and free housing for interns. The company is known for its competitive benefits package--many Facebook interns report earning more than $7,000 per month.

    Why this is "legendary": No explanation needed. Sign me up. Or rather, sign my kids up for this internship.

    6. Scripps Health cares about the well-being of its employees' furry family members, offering pet health insurance for cats and dogs.

    Why this is "legendary": Nothing says you care about your employees like caring about what they are about, and people love their pets.

    7. Starbucks provides full tuition reimbursement for its employees, covering an online bachelor's degree program through Arizona State University.

    Why this is "legendary": Tuition reimbursement is common, but not full tuition reimbursement, and this benefit is available to their baristas as well--not just corporate people.

    8. American Express's parental leave policy offers up to five months of fully paid leave for both mothers and fathers. Birthing mothers generally receive an additional six to eight weeks under salary continuation for medical leave. Parents are also given access to a 24-hour lactation consultant, and mothers traveling for business can ship their breast milk home for free.

    Why this is "legendary": Not only is this a fantastic parental leave program, but allowing nursing mothers to ship breast milk home for free means that more women can grow their careers while still nursing their babies. Fabulous.

    9. Eventbrite helps keep employees healthy by offering a monthly $60 wellness stipend, which can be used on everything from gym dues to juice cleanses.

    Why this is "legendary": The flexibility makes this fabulous. If you like the gym, you can go to the gym. If you prefer something else on the wellness spectrum, you can do that.

    10. Whole Foods Market offers a 20 percent store discount to all employees, including those who are part time.

    Why this is "legendary": While Whole Foods is often joked about as Whole Paycheck, this discount means that employees don't have to spend their whole paycheck there.

    11. In-N-Out's employees can treat themselves to a free Double-Double burger and fries during each shift.

    Why this is "legendary": Much like the Facebook perk, this one is self-explanatory. If my kids can't get internships at Facebook, I'm sending them to apply at In-N-Out.

    12. Deloitte offers two sabbatical programs: an unpaid one-month sabbatical that can be taken for any reason, and a three- to six-month sabbatical that can be taken to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities with 40 percent pay.

    Why this is "legendary": Vacations are awesome and fun, but a sabbatical allows you to chase your dreams. Wow.

    13. Gap provides free access to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to corporate employees. Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher worked closely with the museum to feature their prominent private collection.

    Why this is "legendary": To be honest, I'm not sure about the legendary status of this perk. It's a great perk, to be sure, but lots of companies provide museum memberships and discounts, and this one is only for corporate employees.

    14. Microsoft offers an annual $800 "StayFit" reimbursement program to help cover the cost of gym memberships and fitness programs.

    Why this is "legendary": Again, a great perk, but hardly legendary. Gym benefits are a common perk.

    15. Insurance company Swiss Re's "Own the Way You Work" program encourages employees to embrace flexibility in their schedules and work remotely.

    Why this is "legendary": Hopefully, the legendary status of this will go away shortly, as more and more companies embrace flexibility, but right now, this is a perk lots of people chase.

    16. Amazon offers two programs for new parents: Leave Share, which allows employees to share paid leave with their partner if the partner's company does not offer paid leave, and Ramp Back, which gives new moms more control over easing back into work. All perks are available for corporate, customer service, and fulfillment center employees.

    Why this is "legendary": I've never heard of Leave Share before, which sounds awesome. Ramp Back offers a path back that many new moms want.

    17. USAA offers a strong 401(k) program with an 8 percent matching policy. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average company in the U.S. matches 6 percent.

    Why this is "legendary": An 8 percent match is awesome. Talk about making retirement savings easy.

    18. Southwest offers all employees and their dependents access to Clear Skies, an employee assistance program that provides confidential counseling, work/life services, and legal consultations.

    Why this is "legendary": Many companies offer employee assistance programs, but this sounds like an EAP on steroids. A nice perk that's one step up from normal.

    19. Genentech offers unique onsite amenities, including car washes, haircuts, child care, a mobile spa, and a dentist.

    Why this is "legendary": Everyone hates to go to the dentist, but if you don't need to take a huge amount of time off work for it, it makes it not as terrible.

    20. Timberland employees can take up to 40 hours of paid time off per year to volunteer.

    Why this is "legendary": Not only does this help its employees, it makes the whole world better off when people take the time to help others.

    The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

    PUBLISHED ON: FEB 8, 2017

  • 11 Feb 2017 3:17 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Source: Bloomberg BNA ...


    Jan 25, 2017 / by Sharon H. Lee


    Companies and individuals tapped to undergo Internal Revenue Service examinations of golden parachute payments should review the updated Golden Parachute Payments Audit Technique Guide (2017 ATG) issued by the IRS on Jan. 20.

    Golden parachutes are arrangements that provide executives or key employees with significant financial compensation in the event of a change in ownership or control of the employer. The IRS examines golden parachute payments to determine whether:  (1) the payer can claim a deduction for the payment under I.R.C. § 280G, and (2) the recipient is subject to a 20 percent excise tax as an excess payment under § 4999.

    Audit Technique Guides

    The 2017 ATG conforms the previous version of the ATG with current tax code provisions and Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements. The IRS initially issued ATGs on several executive compensation topics, including golden parachute payments, in 2005.  The 2005 Golden Parachute Payments ATG provided guidance on the following topics:

    • the types of documents reviewed by IRS examiners in golden parachute examinations, and
    • the nine steps performed by IRS examiners in golden parachute examinations.

    The IRS website states that ATGs “help examiners during audits by providing insight into issues and accounting methods unique to specific industries.” Although the ATGs primarily are referenced by IRS examiners, the ATGs contain helpful information for companies and individuals to defend themselves during IRS examinations.

    Key Takeaways

    1. The 2017 ATG specifies two additional types of documents reviewed by IRS examiners in golden parachute payment examinations, including:

    • Information Statement (Schedules 14A and 14C). The 2017 ATG states, “The rules of the Dodd-Frank Act require the disclosure of golden parachute payments in proxy statements and informational statements filed on Schedule 14A as well as Schedule 14C.”
    • Registration Statements (Forms S-4 and F-4). The 2017 ATG states Forms S-4 and F-4 “provide information related to mergers, acquisitions, or when securities are exchanged between companies.”

    2. The 2017 ATG specifies the interplay between I.R.C. § 162(m) and golden parachute payments.  The ATG states, "Section 162(m) provides that the $1 million limitation should be reduced by any amount of excess parachute payments. For example, if the chief executive officer of a publicly-held company received $2 million dollars from his company in the year it was being acquired, of which $200,000 was excess parachute payments under IRC § 280G, the IRC 162(m) limitation for the CEO would be reduced to $800,000 ($1,000,000 - $200,000). However, this provision for reducing the $1 million limitation for the excess parachute payment may not apply if the executive of the target is not considered a covered employee during the year of an acquisition since the target goes out of existence and his pay is not reported in the proxy statement."

  • 23 Apr 2015 10:23 AM | Kian Boloori (Administrator)

    Job descriptions have traditionally been written in a static manner. Beginning in the 1970s, the original goal was to comply with the Uniform Guidelines in Selection Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and Americans With Disabilities Act or to meet other contract and business requirements to defend hiring decisions and minimum employment standards. So what has changed?

    The advent of computer technology provided the opportunity to revise job descriptions more easily. In health care, employers began to score the performance of each job function using the job criterion method. Many employers began to link job description updates with the performance appraisal cycle or timing of reclassification studies. However, the purpose of the review has largely been limited to facilitating market comparisons and internal equity comparisons.

    More recently, some employers have begun to write their job descriptions around competency clusters such as project management, writing skills, software applications, and equipment utilization in work cells. Other employers have taken their core values and written behavioral statements that show the employee understands and shows these values. Both the Company values and the competencies are being prominently displayed on the first and second pages of the job descriptions.

    What appears to be lacking is the emphasis on key result areas and key performance indicators, particularly when the organization does not have a separate incentive plan. We know that we can write these standards into the performance appraisal forms but the criteria will not be centered upon the each employee’s position. The outcome is less than perfect.

    Some organizations have accepted this challenge, such as Kwikset, and quantitatively defined and scored the competencies, continuing training requirements, and performance outcomes for each job. In this context, the job description, training plan, and performance evaluation plan are all part of one document. In other companies, simply listing the performance measures under the abilities section in the Qualifications Guidelines appears to be an important first step.

    What else can be done to improve the active use of the job descriptions? 

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