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EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Company Culture: Little Things Mean a Lot

From free sodas to catered lunches and parties, small efforts can go a long way in showing your team you care.

I try to go out of my way to think about the things that make people happy at my e-mail marketing company VerticalResponse. I mean, we spend 8 plus hours in an office day in and day out, so why not set aside some money in the budget (as our new parent company Deluxe says) to simply "Work Happy."

And you don't have to go overboard. Like the title of this article suggests, little things add up. What are a few ideas that have worked well for us over the years?

Free Bevvies

Offer your employees tasty free beverages and it'll go a long way. I have a good friend who works at a very successful company. They just decided to charge 25 cents for sodas and paid to have machines brought in to sell them. It's actually costing the company money to charge for the soda. And guess what? Company morale is going down the tubes since the price of the soda went up.

Parties

We have quarterly after-work parties hosted by a different department each time. They're usually themed, they take time to plan, and as a side benefit they encourage some awesome team building. And everyone in the company gets to enjoy. Tough to pick the best one yet but some of the favorites include: Madmen, College Rush and Casino night. And everyone dresses up which makes it really fun and takes folks out of their usual element. It's great to see our COO Dave wearing his college t-shirt playing ping pong alongside our marketing people.

Lunches

Our quarterly Employee Appreciation Lunch started as a result of an idea from one of our team members. She then took it to the next level and got different people from all around the company to help her plan the lunch. Now we show up, chat with one another, play a game or two and have some fun! And in our pledge to support small businesses we get it catered by a business in our community.

Birthday Treats

We do NOT do the office birthday cake each and every time someone has a birthday. Instead we celebrate all the birthdays in a given month on a selected day. We offer treats in the form of cupcakes, cookies, or ice cream, usually made by a small business in the Bay Area.

Fun Benefits

We decided to try offering acupuncture insurance for our employees. If you can believe it, it's not that expensive but we didn't know how it would be received. People LOVED it. We also bring in folks once a quarter to give free chair massages. Our team fills up the calendar the minute the e-mail hits, to register. And finally in our pledge to support non-profits, we match any donation that a team member makes to the charity of their choice.

So you don't have to pay a bunch of money for your team to know you care, and for them to "Work Happy!"

Love to hear your own ideas. Share in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

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Last updated: Oct 3, 2013

JANINE POPICK

Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and social media marketing tools for small businesses. The company was ranked No. 4,882 on the 2013 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick




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