Does Your Company Sponsor Employee Clubs? Not Even a Wine Club?

Kris Dunn Compensation/Cash Money, Engagement and Satisfaction, Retention, Total Rewards

Kristina Shevory has a cool article up at the New York Times about employee clubs.  From her article atGrinchxmastree4 the NYT:

"Fat paychecks, pensions and health insurance are not enough to recruit and keep employees these days. Companies are again finding that adding a bit of social context to work is crucial to keeping employees happy and productive. That is where employee clubs come in. Workplace specialists say clubs are a way to build camaraderie and help people get to know fellow employees away from work. Companies benefit, too. Clubs help create loyal employees, reduce turnover and improve morale while costing very little."

Interesting stuff.  I should know because she called me last year (found me from the HR Capitalist) and we talked about the challenges for employers who aren’t Boeing or Google.  It was good conversation, and we talked about things that cash-challenged companies can do.

We talked for about 30 minutes.  What she quoted me on serves as a cautionary tale.  Here’s my quote from the story.  Get ready to channel the Grinch:

"Still, perks can be impermanent. During the technology boom in the 1990s, companies piled on the benefits to attract talent and then promptly got rid of them when the economy soured. Many companies, whether they are battling bankruptcy or are flush with cash, have rolled back benefits, eliminated pensions and increased health care premiums to reduce expenses. Any nonessential perk, like an employee club, is also fair game.

“If they ever existed, the first thing that goes is the frilly, frilly stuff,” said Kris Dunn, vice president for human resources at SourceMedical, a Birmingham, Ala., software company, and author of the blog The HR Capitalist."

Bah Humbug… So my quote is true, but Mercer and the consultants get the fun quotes.  I get the fiscal hawk quote…. The HR person’s trying to take all the fun out of the workplace…

Check out the article, it’s a good read.  Finding out that Boeing funds over 100 employee clubs at seven locations nationwide is kind of like finding out that a Massage Therapist from Google is now a millionaire from her stock options.

It’s hard to relate to from the trenches…. Boeing has a VP of Wine….