Money isn’t everything: The right benefits can help change a company’s culture

Employees at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada wear identical shirts to work on Fridays. The shirts display charities that CCCN supports.

You’ve received the job offer and are reviewing the benefits package. You find that all of the things that you were expecting are there.

Medical, dental and vision coverage. Check. A handful of paid holidays. Check. Two weeks of vacation after a year. Check.

But what about the benefits and perks that may tip you in favor of accepting the position? That can often be the deal-maker or deal-breaker for companies when they are recruiting prospective employees.

“Our overall philosophy is that we know our employees are looking for more than just a paycheck,” said Rosamari McNulty, senior director of human resources and volunteer services at Nathan Adelson Hospice. “We want to offer so much more to them for being great employees.”

In a small sampling of Las Vegas companies, some extraordinary benefits quickly become apparent. Those range from pet insurance, the ability to purchase major household appliances interest-free through payroll deduction, Weight Watchers and smoking cessation programs, and even an on-site lactation room for new mothers who are breastfeeding.

Here is a look at four local workplaces and some of the benefits and perks they offer to their employees:

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In support of the Clean the World nonprofit, Caesars Entertainment housekeepers such as Ana Rivera collect slightly used or unused shampoo.

Caesars Entertainment Corp.

As you might imagine, a company the size of Caesars Entertainment has the resources to provide more perks to its employees than an average company. With 27,000 employees in Las Vegas, and nearly 70,000 worldwide, Caesars tries to provide something useful for everyone.

“We sponsor all kinds of sports teams for our employees, from softball and volleyball to basketball and bowling,” said Lindsay Garcia, manager of sustainability and public affairs for Caesars Entertainment. “We encourage our employees to get out and be active.”

If their worker doesn’t want to be part of a team sport, the company has another option.

Located on West Flamingo Road, the Caesars Wellness Center has doctors, dieticians and personal trainers, with a full gym with extended hours that is free for all employees. Exercise classes are offered as well.

Caesars also provides free meals in an employee dining room, free and discounted show tickets and a credit union.

Bet your company doesn't offer perks like these

On a national scale, some of the top companies to work for offer some truly out-of-the-box perks and benefits. Here is a look at 10 of them:

• Google: Long recognized for its great – and odd – perks, the company allows employees to help themselves to anything in the overflowing food pantries or cafeterias that are on site. It also has bowling alleys, bocce courts and a gym on its 26-acre campus. And if that’s not enough, it offers free haircuts without leaving work.

• Campbell Soup Company: It offers a full kindergarten program and day care for children of employees, as well as a “School’s Out” program that helps workers with children ages 6-12 to cover days when schools are closed for teacher conferences or snow days. It also runs a “Summer Fun” program during the months that school is out.

• Cisco Systems: It provides an on-site fitness center as well as physical therapy and acupuncture.

• Johnson & Johnson: The company provides access to a concierge service to its 12,000 employees. Services can range from returning library books to picking up dry cleaning.

• Mattel: It has a policy that offers 16 hours of paid time off for school-related absences such as parent-teacher conference or even field trips.

• General Mills: As part of the Flexible User Shared Environment program, employees are allowed to sit and work wherever they want at the corporate headquarters.

• Chesapeake Energy: It offers free SCUBA certification to all employees.

• Southwest Airlines: Employees receive free flights on the airline as well as discounts with partners. Friends and family also receive guest passes.

• Visa: It rewards employees who either bike, car pool or use public transportation to get to work, lauding them for their green efforts.

• Microsoft Corp.: It gives new parents at the company generous maternity and paternity leave. But here’s the kicker — the leave is paid.

Additionally, it started a program three years ago called “CodeGreen at Work” that rewards employees who have ideas about helping the company become more environmentally friendly — or green. For their initiatives, they’re rewarded.

For instance, a chef at Serendipity 3 — located in front of Caesars Palace — put in an outdoor herb garden and now the chefs there use fresh herbs from it in their daily cooking, Garcia said. “First herb garden of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip,” she said.

Another group came up with the idea of removing the light bulbs from the back-of-house vending machines to save energy, Garcia said.

The incentives for such ideas come in the form of Total Return Credits, which can be redeemed online for such things as trips, appliances, sporting goods equipment and even cars.

The initiative has since spun off to the “CodeGreen at Home” program.

“We saw some of the great ideas that employees had come up with at work, and they made a big difference,” Garcia said. “We encouraged them to carry those ideas into their homes.”

The company now runs a quarterly contest for employees who have made “green” changes outside the workplace. Employees must complete a form that outlines what they’ve done, the cost and also provide photos. They are then awarded Total Reward Credits to their accounts.

Garcia was excited to talk about one employee – a bartender at Bally’s – in particular. In recent months, he has installed a Cool Share thermostat, high-efficiency lighting, low-flow showerheads and a reverse osmosis system to eliminate buying bottled water; installed his own garden, and bought an electric car.

“He was definitely on the extreme side,” said Garcia, who said the maximum 25,000 credits (the equivalent of about $500) were awarded to him as part of the program.

As part of the green initiative, Caesars holds an annual “CodeGreen Day” where Dartmouth College’s Big Green Bus comes to town. The bus, which runs on waste vegetable oil, transports 13 Dartmouth students 12,000 miles across 24 states to build enthusiasm for environmental action. Employees spent time in the “classroom on wheels” when it was here last summer to increase awareness about the importance of sustainability practices. It will hit the Las Vegas Strip this year on July 23.

In April, Caesars also hosted a farmers market for its workers. Employees had a chance to shop from local vendors as well as participate in a drawing for donated $200 energy audits for their homes.

Another program that Caesars has received tremendous employee participation in is in support of the nonprofit Clean the World. Housekeeping crews at Caesars properties collect lightly used or new soaps and bottled toiletries. It amounted to 50 tons of soap in 2012.

Jessica Rossman, the director of supplier diversity and sustainability for Caesars, traveled to Honduras last fall to watch the distribution of the products to the locals. This year, Caesars is exploring ways to extend the opportunity to more employees, Garcia said.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

Cancer treatment, care and research are what the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is all about. It’s a specially trained team of doctors, researchers, nurses and health care professionals that has provided patients with groundbreaking treatments since 1974.

So it’s no stretch of the imagination that CCCN is closely loyal to the Susan G. Komen Foundation – the world’s largest breast cancer organization. So much so that the company pays the entry fee into the annual Race for the Cure event for any interested employee, plus family members at a discounted rate.

“We see that as being very important to the community,” said Tanya Vial, CCCN’s human resources manager. “We had close to 220 participants representing us this year, which was wonderful.”

The company provides a robust time-off plan to employees that includes nine paid holidays, three weeks of vacation immediately upon hiring and a 40-hour sick bank in case of emergencies, Vial said. Additionally, it provides tuition reimbursement of up to $3,000 annually.

It also has an employee referral program that pays current workers up to $1,000 for new hires they recommend who stay with the company for a certain period of time.

CCCN recognizes five “Employees of the Quarter” and recognizes them with a small cash bonus, a profile in the company e-newsletter and a certificate to place at their workstation.

“A lot of the nominations come from the patients, so they get really excited when they see a certificate from someone that they nominated,” said James Kilber, executive director of CCCN.

Kilber is active with the employees across the 13 locations in Southern Nevada. It’s not out of the ordinary to find him serving workers at the annual ice cream social or at the company’s Hot Dog Day.

A program that Kilber said he’s especially proud of is the employees’ role in working with the local food bank, Three Square.

“Employees have donated their time to help with food drives at all of our locations,” Kilber said. “They also stuff backpacks as another way to help out.”

Kilber said that a few years ago the company eliminated the traditional gift basket that they sent to physicians as gifts. Instead, that money became a matching grant to Three Square.

The CCCN employees also pitch in around December holidays, choosing five families (usually relatives of a patient) to assist.

“We donate the money and the employees do the shopping for the tree, gifts, a holiday meal – basically anything that helps make life easier for that family,” Vial said.

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Richard Haddrill, Bally Technologies’ current chairman of the board and former CEO, addresses a group of employees recently at an Excellence in Leadership luncheon.

Bally Technologies

Many companies make the claim that they like to promote from within. Bally Technologies backs it up.

It started the Leadership in Excellence program for its employees three years ago, and it’s already paying dividends — for the company as well as the employees.

“We selected 50 employees from middle management for a one-year program that we created,” said Gary Kapral, senior vice president of human resources. “Each person was paired with a mentor. But we kind of cross-pollinated, so for instance the CFO might be put with a person in a marketing job. Each person completed courses and worked on projects in teams and earned something like a mini college degree.”

Now in its third year, Kapral said the turnover rate among that group is far less than the rest of the company. He also said that several employees have received some nice promotions.

“Our hopes are that they will be the mentors down the line,” he said.

The company also has instituted the Bally Technical Training Academy as well as the Bally eLearning Program for its employees. Workers have access to an online library for coursework that that helps employees enhance their experience level. It also saves the company from hiring outside consultants to teach that kind of training. By moving it in house, it saves money and makes the process more proficient, Kapral said.

Bally provides $5,000 annually for tuition reimbursement, as well, allowing some employees to pursue a master’s degree at little to no out-of-pocket cost.

“We really support that program,” Kapral said. “We get decent participation in it, but we’d love to have even more employees participate in it.”

For new moms, Bally offers a lactation room at its headquarters.

“It has gotten popular in recent years, and we have one in most of our major facilities across the world,” Kapral said. “Mothers book the room, which is basically a converted lounge. It locks from the inside for privacy. It also has a refrigerator for milk storage.

The company enters the local Corporate Challenge and also provides subsidies for local gym memberships. Kapral said the company is also installing a walking/jogging path on campus.

Kapral also said that Bally has always had a reasonably deep bonus program. The company – which boasts 1,000 employees in Las Vegas and about 3,400 worldwide – never stopped it, but it did take a bit of a hit during the economic downturn, he said.

Kapral also said Bally has a popular employee stock purchase program.

Nathan Adelson Hospice

The hospice care facility was recognized as a Top 100 Best Places to Work by Modern Health Care magazine in 2010 and 2011. McNulty believes that’s because the company listens to its employees.

“We do a lot of internal employee surveys,” she said. “We truly want to know and care what the employees are thinking.”

Some of its perks include on-site car washes for employees, an option for pet insurance, dry cleaning pickup and drop-off twice per week, an employee purchasing program, discounts on work shoes and free flu shots, plus occasional seminars on financial planning and nutrition.

McNulty said the purchasing program has been a big hit. Employees can purchase things online from a website such as household furniture, computers, washers and dryers, and then pay for them interest-free through payroll deduction.

The company pays 100 percent of coverage for medical, pharmaceutical and dental premiums, plus it subsidizes 25 percent of dependent and domestic partner care. It also provides life insurance and long-term disability coverage at no cost to the employee.

The company pays for all certification classes and renewals that employees need.

“Anything that is required for them to do their job, we pay for,” McNulty said.

Weight Watchers classes also are offered, and employees who lose 5 percent of their body weight and maintain it are reimbursed, McNulty said.

Another area where Nathan Adelson Hospice is particularly diligent is counseling for its employees.

“Our staff deals with a lot of emotions on an everyday basis,” McNulty said. “We have a compassion fatigue support group and counselors are always available. We also have a program where an employee can go off site to talk to someone, as well.

“Our employees can get attached to their patients,” she said. “Some even attend funerals sometimes of the patients they cared for.”

Tags: Business