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October 15, 2010
Working for Perks Is as Important as Working for a Paycheck

After a recent customer service call, I headed for a comfort intervention, and it wasn’t chocolate or ice-cream. It was Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods cares about people. They greet you and ask how you are doing. Being nice can be contagious. Have you heard?

In the case of Whole Foods, they want your experience to be pleasant and ask heartfelt, helpful questions that make you pause in your tracks with a wake-up call that somebody on this planet actually may give a hoot.

Call it trained, scripted, or memorized, but it’s positive, and it stimulates feelings of warmth. In other words, it works. Whole Foods offers a friendly environment with people willing to accommodate the customer.

Could respectful attitudes be back in style like the platform shoe?

While some may think it’s the old everybody’s-business-has-to-have-a-gimmick ploy, Whole Foods is one exception and on top of the heap in how to earn it.

Whole Foods is an example of a company that offers their services with just the right people skills. They make you fall in love with their approach, not just their fabulous (albeit higher priced) organic products on the shelves.

They are more than just an inviting store. Whole Foods also want to make their employees happy and treat them like family -- the way companies did many, many sustainable paychecks ago.

Now wouldn’t it be "loverly" if the rest of the work world held the same humanistic philosophy? Actually, many do. In fact, nice companies finish first.

It's interesting to note, while Whole Foods (celebrating their 30th anniversary), placed No. 18 on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For 2010"(including recognition in special "unusual perks" category), the software company SAS topped the list.

If you’re wondering what type of perks other companies offer, here’s the (not all-inclusive) short list to drool over:

  • Heath care
  • Child care
  • Work-life balance
  • Sabbaticals
  • Same sex benefits
  • Cash for health
  • Education reimbursement
  • Wardrobe assistance
  • Telecommuting
  • Lots of vacations

While we all know the current job market is horrendous after the economic collapse, the question remains: How do you get any job? Desperation should never dictate settling for absolutely nothing in your benefit favor. Ideally, the company you work for should also work for you -- on some level.

Believe it or not, there are wonderful companies that want to make your work-life experience one you'll want to wake worth waking up for.

For example, SAS, is not numero uno on the list by happenstance. Their amazing benefits play a big part:

  • Child care
  • 90 percent coverage of the health insurance premium
  • Unlimited sick days
  • Medical center staffed by four physicians and 10 nurse practitioners (at no cost to employees)
  • Free 66,000-square-foot fitness center and natatorium
  • Lending library
  • Summer camp for children

Wow! You could say SAS knows how to keep pace with the times, and so should you before you send out résumés and carefully written cover letters. Choose what fits. Think of it as match dating for jobs, leaving fewer surprises before that first encounter.

Check out the list. It offers so much vital information including a "perk finder" that helps you zoom in on your priorities. You may discover companies you would never consider turn out to be your perfect match.

Chances are, if a company knows how to satisfy the customer, they also know how to satisfy their employees.

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Phyllis Briskman is a verse contributor and does PR/marketing. She sharpened her first pencil as retail fashion copywriter, writing to count before Twitter tweeted its first hello. Later, she flew the cubicle to do freelance creative becoming a writer of all trades, from beauty to fitness for catalogs, magazines, and websites. Born to brainstorm, she's named retail businesses and website domains. She loves quick wit, survives on laughter, is a little hokey, but aims to please because that’s what life’s all about.

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