The company, which makes energy bars and other energizing foods from organic ingredients, delivers exceptional employee benefits.
“The first thing you have to do to drive engagement is do something that matters,” he says. “Run the kind of company we’d want to leave for our children. You’ll attract people who want to be part of an organization that reflects their own values.”
five bottom lines
The podcast, produced and written by Hubspot marketer Dave Gerhardt, is called “How Clif Bar Manages a Business With Not One, But Five Bottom Lines.” In it, Cleary lists the company’s bottom lines:
- Sustain our Business. Build a resilient company, invest for the long-term.
- Sustain our Brands. Create brands with integrity, quality, and authenticity.
- Sustain our People. Work side by side, encourage each other. Our company is our people.
- Sustain our Communities. Promote healthy, sustainable communities — locally and globally.
- Sustain the Planet. Conserve and restore our natural resources; grow a business that operates in harmony with the laws of nature.
“How much profit your company makes is not what people care about,” says Cleary.
Exceptional Employee Benefits
Clif Bar employees spend a lot of time at work, and they want to know they’re making the world a better place in the process, adds Cleary. That’s why his company’s perks support its five bottom lines.
Sustain the Planet
For example, employees who buy hybrid vehicles that meet the organization’s criteria get $6,500 reimbursements. Those who walk or bike to work get “cool commute dollars,” redeemable for massages, food from the company cafeteria, or other benefits.
Sustain the Community
Clif Bar also encourages employees to do a minimum of 20 hours of community service, on paid time, at the organizations of their choice. Cleary believes that, as they help the community, people stay more connected to all aspects of their lives while at work.
Cleary wants to make it easier for people to live their lives. In fact, he even questions the phrase “work/life balance,” which implies that work happens at work and life happens everywhere else. He says it’s all just life! Life happens all the time, even during business hours. Cleary knows how to accommodate that reality in his office.
A hair stylist and chiropractor visit periodically. There’s an on-site fitness center with personal trainers, and organic produce is delivered to employees. Dogs are allowed in the office, and there’s an on-site daycare. Taking your kids to the cafe for lunch or walking your dog on a break helps keep you connected to your life while still managing a job.
“It’s a way to get those parts of your lives taken care of,” Cleary says. “I want to put time back in people’s pockets.”
Employee benefits are an investment
He doesn’t look at employee benefits as an expense, but an investment, since they help his employees be more engaged, productive, and eager to stay at Clif Bar.
Attorney and financial planner Steve Parrish wrote a Forbes article that’s in agreement: “Employee Benefits: Return On Investment Or Return On Individual?”
He cites a white paper from Principal Financial Group: “Best Practices in Employee Financial Security.” The paper outlines the 2013 results of the organization’s annual recognition for small- and medium- sized companies committed to employee financial security. When these employers talked about their benefits, they didn’t talk about the bottom line, but about increased job satisfaction and support for work/life balance.
Competition judge and former Inc. editor-in-chief of George Gendron says:
“We saw that the winning companies framed their benefits programs in the context of what they want their companies to be. They have a vision for long-term success, and they believe that the long-term financial security of their employees is critical to that success, and has to be addressed on a number of different levels.”
Retaining happy, satisfied employees does boost the bottom line, Parrish writes. Indeed, the average voluntary turnover rate among winning companies was under 5%, compared to the national average of 21.1%.
But, he notes, companies need to take a broader look at their investment in employee benefits:
“It’s not a return on an investment; it’s a return on an individual, and in turn that provides a boost to the employer’s bottom line.”
Clif Bar’s Awesome Employee Benefits
And that’s just how Clif Bar’s Cleary views employee benefits. In her Mashable article, “6 Companies With Awesome Employee Perks,” Lauren Drell, director of content at organic food venue sweetgreen, notes that even though Clif Bar has hundreds of employees and has been around for decades, it has a “startup-y vibe.”
Among the employee benefits she lists are:
- Cool Home Incentives
Employees can receive up to $1,000 per year to make eco-friendly home improvements like installing Energy Star appliances or solar panels.
- Ample Vacation and Sabbatical
New Clif Bar employees start with 15 days of paid time off, which bumps up to 25 days after just four years. After seven years, employees can take six- to eight-week sabbaticals!
- Flexible Schedules
Some choose the 9/80 schedule: work 80 hours in nine days and take every other Friday off.
- Weekly Breakfast Meeting
Leadership and employees gather together for a hearty, healthy breakfast, to share news and a consumer’s letter of the week.
- Employee Stock Ownership Plan
Employees are automatically enrolled in this company-funded program and become 100% vested after three years or at retirement age (whichever comes first).
Clif Bar’s culture and benefits don’t only yield happier, healthier employees, but an extremely low turnover (3%)! According to Fortune article “Clif Bar climbs to the top of America’s workplaces,” job competition is (unsurprisingly) fierce. Over the last year, the company received nearly 8,000 applications for only 114 open positions.
Driving engagement through exceptional employee benefits works for Clif Bar –and it can for your business, too!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post about another company that delivers fantastic employee benefits. Remember, offering exceptional employee benefits is an investment in individuals that leads to a better bottom line.
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading.”
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