Valuing Employees

Like many nonprofit founders, I’ve spent the last two years working with a limited compensation package. While Reach’s Board of Directors has provided me with an appropriate salary, we simply had not developed the infrastructure around employee benefits. Recently, that changed.

As we prepare (next week!) to hire our second full-time employee, we needed to make decisions about the way we would support our staff. In making these important decisions, we had to think about both our second hire and our twentieth. How could we create a benefits package that honored each employee’s value, but also ensured financial sustainability into the future?

This conversation quickly became one about organizational culture and values. What do we want to say to our employees? How can we remain competitive? How can we ensure that our employees feel that they are valued? How can we ensure that our plan is fair to recent college graduates and families with children?

Despite the challenges presented by the current economy, we feel that we created a benefits package that is competitive and fair. We hope it helps our employees to understand how much we value them – those we hire now and those we’ll hire in the future.

Health Insurance: Reach will pay up to $600 a month. For individuals, this will likely cover all costs associated with Health Insurance. For individuals with families, we hope this will significantly defray costs. Health insurance will kick in 30 days after the employee starts work.

Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance: Reach will pay all costs associated with dental and vision insurance. Additionally, we will cover the entire cost of $10,000 worth of life insurance. These coverages will also kick in 30 days after the employee begins work.

Retirement (403b): Reach will match employee contributions of up to 5% of gross salary. To encourage saving, we will only match employee contributions – so, if an employee contributes $0, they will sacrifice the employee match. A 100% vested match will start 6 months after the employee begins work.

Vacation and Other Leave: We still have some work to do in this area. Our lawyers are currently outlining the legal requirements, though we expect to offer something beyond the legal minimum (however, the minimum sounds wonderful to me – I haven’t had an official vacation day in 2.5 years!).

In the end, it’s our goal to make our employees feel that they have the best job in the world. We recognize that compensation is only a small part of that equation, but we hope that these decisions are our first step toward creating a positive and supportive organizational culture.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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