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Are You Nickel and Diming Your Employees?

Rethinking Company Policies That Create Unintended Staff Pain Points

We decided that one of our must-win battles in 2018 revolves around making Livewire a place where employees want to stay or are reluctant to leave. We’ve been working on strategic planning weekly in our leadership meetings by taking turns presenting to each other on specific goals.

One of this year’s first presentations focused on the sense that our employees could feel “nickel and dimed” by some of our company policies. My initial reaction was defensive (which probably means we’ve identified a good area for improvement!). I’ve been guilty of not being able to understand things from the employee perspective and consciously remind myself be more empathetic. Our team solicited ideas from across the company and here’s what surfaced. I’m guessing your company may be experiencing some of these same issues, so here’s a head start:

Nickel and Dime Pain Points with Recommendations:

Pain Point: Our employees pay $10 per pay period ($260 annually) for company uniform, storage, and laundering service.

Recommendation: Explore alternative options without the recurring costs. Offer each employee an initial uniform set upon employment or applicable promotions. In the event additional or replacement uniform items are requested, the employee is responsible for all associated costs.

Pain Point: Livewire contributes 50 percent toward employee-only health care plans.

Recommendation: Explore options to offer spouse or family coverage at a discounted rate. No change to employee contribution.

Pain Point: Installers (with company vehicles) are allowed to clock in upon arriving to their first appointment or after 45 minutes of travel. Upon completing their last assignment, employees must clock out. After 45 minutes of travel, employees may clock back in for the duration of their drive home.

Recommendation: No change at this time. 

Pain Point: We markup product cost 10 percent to cover fees and taxes

Recommendation: Remove markup and instead use the formula, Cost (+ freight/shipping) + Virginia sales tax. Employees are encouraged to maximize savings by utilizing vendor accommodations prior to making an employee purchase. 

Pain Point: Employer-provided cell phone or monthly allowance ($46.16) toward company use of personal line.

Recommendation: No change at this time. 

Pain Point: $0.42/mile driven for company related travel

Recommendation: Adopt national rate annually (currently $0.545 per mile as of January 1, 2018)

Pain Point: Currently, Livewire does not offer paid time off (PTO) for these instances, requiring an employee to use vacation time.

Recommendation: Provide a 20-percent increase to those earning less than three weeks of vacation annually and adopt a PTO policy. This time may be used for vacation, sick, bereavement, or personal time. See this great article about adopting a PTO policy and setting the appropriate ground rules in advance of rollout. 

Pain Point: Sales personnel are required to provide a computer or tablet capable of supporting their daily workload. Livewire sometimes provides a minimal allowance for upgrades or new device purchases, if requested.

Recommendation: Publicize company BYOD policy and offer a specific make/model laptop with an option to upgrade every two years or a BYOD device credit to applicable employees redeemable once every two years (employee must submit a receipt of purchase to redeem).

If we adopt all of these changes, will Livewire become perfect? Of course not. We do know that happy employees make happy clients. We’re always learning from our mistakes and striving to improve. What about you?

Stay frosty and see you in the field.