Extreme extras
A nice paycheck, a boss who respects you...those things are fine, but how about some free stuff. Can your company match these?
By David Jacobson, MONEY Magazine contributing writer

NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) - Some companies reward their employees with generous vacation time; others keep workers happy with above-average 401(k) matches.

But how about:

Free beer

Employees at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo. receive a case of beer a week, which the company does not recommend they drink while riding the bike (like the one on the label of NBB's Fat Tire Amber Ale) that they get after a year on the job. After five years, they go to Belgium to sample the brews that inspired the company's creation.

Free adventure

Brogan & Partners, a Michigan marketer, takes its 60 employees on annual mystery junkets - no one's told the destination (they've hit Amsterdam, Iceland and the Caribbean). At UCG, a Rockville, Md. business publisher, the 1,000 workers (and significant others) are sent on a surprise, all-expenses-paid long weekend every five years.

Pet insurance

Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill chips in a maximum of $30 a month toward veterinary insurance for pet-owning employees.

Free fish -- and weight-loss help too

The Sheboygan, Wis. campus of insurance company Acuity features a stocked pond, and the 850 employees can keep their catch. For those who eat too much fish, the company pays for Weight Watchers. Employees put down $100. If they make their weight goal, they get the money back. If not, Acuity matches the money and gives it to charity.

'Pray' for a raise

HomeBanc, the Atlanta mortgage lender, contracts with Corporate Chaplains of America to provide confidential support to any of its 1,300 workers facing crises. "They will only bring up faith or religion if the employee asks," says v.p. Mark Scott. In January and February, HomeBanc's chaplains were paged 244 times, made 34 hospital visits and participated in five weddings and funerals.

Hug trees, get paid

Outdoor outfitter Patagonia pays employees to work for an environmental group of their choice for up to two months. In the past, workers have monitored wolves in Yellowstone and restored native plants in Hawaii. The privately held Ventura, Calif. company will also, "under certain circumstances," pay bail for workers jailed for civil disobedience related to environmental activism.

Concierge services

At four hospitals in the OhioHealth network, concierges handle every conceivable personal chore for all 15,200 employees, from doctors to housekeeping staff. Bonded concierges on retainer from third-party provider 2 Places At 1 Time will buy a nurse's list of groceries, then take them to her house and put them away. Or go to homes to let repair people in or dogs out. One concierge even stood on line and scored fifth-row seats to a Kenny Chesney concert.

Your portrait: Hangin' with the boss

At the Toledo HQ of Root Learning, which creates visual aids for strategic initiatives, portraits of all 80 employees hang in the lobby. They're not arranged like an org chart - you can't tell by the wall who's an exec and who's an assistant. Visual puns are the norm - a senior v.p. known for her constantly changing hair color gets a Warholian four-panel treatment.

 Top of page

Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?