The worm has turned.
Companies large and small are looking for workers, and workers, large and small, are looking for reasons to return to the daily grind.
It’s a situation we haven’t experienced in a while — the demand for employees to work in our restaurants, hotels, factories and offices exceeds the supply. No wonder our corporate overlords are befuddled.
“What can we do?” the bosses cry. “How can we get workers back to work?”
“We could give them free, week-long training programs in organizational engagement to grow developmental productivity,” says the HR department.
“We could increase the RAM on their laptops,” says the IT department.
“We could pay them more,” says Edith the intern.
“Edith, you’re fired,” say the bosses, after the laughter dies down.
In the end, what the head honchos have decided is that the answer to attracting new workers is perks.
Do I mean the kind of perks that managers have received for years, like juicy stock options, ginormous bonuses, and leased luxury cars?
According to “From Appetizers to Tuition, Incentives to Job Seekers Grow,” a recent Nelson D. Schwartz article in The New York Times, what we have today is a “cornucopia of new benefits as human resources officers and employees alike rethink what makes for a compelling compensation package.”
It may indeed be true that free chicken wonton tacos will do the job, and soon our restaurants and factories will be humming along, but if double-crunch bone-in wings don’t work, here are a few more extremely appetizing free ideas:
1. The Waste Management company is offering free tuition for employees and their families. This is a very thoughtful and generous perk. To sweeten the deal, I recommend the company offer workers the opportunity to take home a bucket of waste every week. (Managers get to fill the trunk of their leased Teslas with waste, but everyone needs a reason to advance in the company.)
2. A free appetizer awaits when you go to schedule an interview with Applebee’s restaurants. While I don’t dismiss the fatal attraction of spinach and artichoke dip for attracting employees, the restaurant chain will have to up their game if they want to retain their new employees after the last of the chips has been dipped and the guacamole is turning brown. Building on the irresistibility of free food, I recommend sending new employees a free two-pound fruitcake at the beginning of every month, unless they quit, in which case they will receive two fruit cakes every month.
Now that’s what I call golden handcuffs.
3. Free hotel rooms are perks being offered new employees at Omni Hotels & Resorts. The article doesn’t say if a key to the minibar is included in the package, but I somehow doubt it. A better perk would be to allow employees to attend the get-rich-quick seminars that various self-improvement gurus present in hotel meeting rooms.
4. If management is concerned that employees will become so rich they’ll leave their jobs after attending seminars teaching them to “Become a Millionaire Trading Rabbit Hutch Leases” or “Join the Jet Set with Crumb-Away, America’s Premier Toaster-Cleaning Franchise,” I wouldn’t worry. Fifteen years ago, I attended “Make a Fortune Writing a Work-place Humor Column,” and I haven’t made a penny.
5. Membership in exclusive country clubs is a not-uncommon perk for executive types, who are expected to make high-level business contacts as they stroll the links. Obviously, this would be rarified air for underpaid worker bees, like thee and me, but I doubt anyone would fail to be excited by a free membership in the Moss-of-the-Month Club, an elite association that will surely raise your status in the company as well as satisfying your passion for moss. A subscription to Skulls Unlimited International will put a pleasing variety of predator skulls, bones and fossils on your desktop, which you can stroke menacingly while discussing your next raise with your manager.
6. Appliances in your workspace. Putting a 6-foot Gladiator garage-ready refrigerator and freezer set in your cubical could make things a little tight, but after working from home for more than a year, it could fill the emotional gap left by leaving your kitchen and going back to an office. A personal microwave, a mini-donut maker and a sous vide-cooker would make a homey, if crowded, office space for anyone for whom going to work means they had to give up the ultimate perk — the ability to work from home.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.