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Capability Company

A Message from our President

Winter 2015

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to 2015 and our first seasonal ezine of the year! Okay, so we have been entrenched in the new year for more than a month now and have already transitioned to writing ¡§2015¡¨ instead of ¡§2014¡¨, but it is our first issue of the year and our first opportunity to wish you the best. In case you missed the news during the whirlwind days at the end of the year, we are reducing our impact on your inbox by offering ezines seasonally, rather than monthly. We will still send notices as needed and will still post all our information on our website, we just won¡¦t send you an actual newsletter 12 times this year, only 4.

In our previous issue, we invited our readers to respond to our traditional year-end survey, this time asking you about perks in your job that make your workplace more cheerful or interesting. The responses we received covered a wide variety of options, ranging from inexpensive and easy to implement, to HR-heavy strategies. Regardless of where your company falls on this spectrum, we hope you are inspired to seek out new ways to brighten your work atmosphere.

We don¡¦t intend this as frivolous chatter ¡V we all have read the studies reporting that an environment that supports and uplifts workers, that is lively, and that makes us feel good about the place we spend our days leads to more productive, effective, and meaningful effort. We work harder and smarter in locations where we are happier.

So, what are your organizations doing to make you happier? Here are some of the more creative responses you provided:

Offering work-time flexibility [the most popular response!]

  • Allowing schedule flexibility - including work-from-home, late start/early departure options, bringing children to work, etc.
  • Offering flexibility to modify workspace, to be innovative
  • Providing a flexible, casual environment

Paying for time to do something other than work

  • Offering an extra day of paid time off on your birthday
  • Providing a specific number of holidays per year, but not designating the actual dates, allowing employees of different religious and cultural backgrounds to select the days meaningful to them
  • Giving an extra day off per year to volunteer
  • Giving ¡§early release¡¨ days on the day before a holiday, to let staff get a head start on travel, relaxation, or festivities

Encouraging fun

  • Coordinating an office-wide First Friday Potluck Lunch each month
  • Providing managers a "fun fund": money to be used quarterly for the team to have fun together; not typical "team building"
  • Giving ¡§Yay Days¡¨: 2 times per year, paying employees to get outside and do something fun
  • Celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and new employees
  • Including fun elements along with traditional team building and professional development activities, such as art tours and scavenger hunts as part of an annual retreat

Doing something unexpected

  • Providing peer recognition opportunities: allowing employees to officially nominate coworkers for small appreciation awards, not just recognition by supervisors
  • Serving as a foster care for kittens¡Xemployees take kittens home in the evenings and bring them back to the office during the day
  • Serving as a delivery point for a local CSA for employees whose neighborhoods are not in the delivery area (The CSA delivers to offices so company employees can take fresh produce home with them weekly.)
  • Introducing a pet policy

Then there were these responses with a dash of humor¡K

  • My dog is the office manager and she's always in a good mood.
  • Free beer. (I'm not kidding.) We're a brew pub and we can have beer anytime we want it.
  • As a sole proprietor, working in my sweats on a cold winter day and watching the snow through my window is about as cheerful as it gets.

And, if you think all of the responses were positive, or that no one notices when perks are not offered, we also heard about some challenging environments with limited cheer or interest, ultimately impacting whether employees stay or leave:

  • The ¡§perk¡¨ that is offered is having work vs. being unemployed.
  • Unfortunately - not much. Our organization is more focused on buildings rather than human capital. It is hurting our retention.
  • Absolutely nothing. The nonprofit where I work is the saddest, most depressing place I've ever been affiliated with. There is lip service about "self care" but no follow-through. We do nothing extra for our employees. In fact, I've just resigned from the management team.

Take note of what your colleagues are doing and resolve to offer (or ask for!) one new perk this year. There are so many ways to provide advantages or benefits that there is certain to be an option or two to fit your situation¡Kand improve your workplace in the process.

That¡¦s all for now, until spring has sprung! We will catch up with you again next season.

Sherry Heuser
President, Capability Company

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In This Issue

Current Searches
Article of the Month
The Bottom Line
Event Calendar


A Client's Perspective

"Sherry, your help and guidance was essential through the entire process. I¡¦ll be happy to serve as a reference, should you need any down our way”

Camilla Herlevich
Coastal Land Trust


Heard Around Town

"I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned"

~ Author Unknown

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