Professional Perks - Incentives for
Management Tips by Donald Burleson
As employees rise in the ranks
of Information Technology they wonder about the perks and benefits that they
will receive with each promotion. The qualification to become an executive
are daunting, as noted by Wiley in Non Sequitur:
But one you are
qualified to be an IT executive, the perks keep-on coming:
I've been in the IT industry
for a few decades and I've been lucky enough to spend short periods of time with
senior executives, and I've got a good handle of the perks that are associated
with various levels of IT management. Let's take a look at executive perks
in the IT industry.
Note: Make sure to review our
Executive Perks by
The progressive and successful
technology companies of the 21st century understand that perks can aid in
retention of mission-critical talent. For example, the anti-social dweeb
who designed your manufacturing system may be the most indispensable person in
your large corporation. Most of these prima-donnas' are narcissistic,
and you need to
understand their motivators. Here are common perks that I've seen,
listed by job role:
Staff programmers, Systems
Analysts and team leaders see small perks, less than $1k per year:
- Free Coupons - Some
companies give-away free movie tickets, $50 dinner coupons and rewards for
jobs well done. At my company, I give-out 50%-off coupons for Denny's.
- Drinks & Snacks -
Many companies provide refrigerators full of coffee soda and snacks.
Microsoft rolls-out free pizza every night at 6:00 PM.
- Gifts - I mail
Carnegie Cheesecakes to top performers, and I've found that employees love
the legendary New York Cheesecake. Plus they are easy to order by
- Comp Time/Flex Time
- Many staff professionals are allowed to take a few weeks off after a
- Business Cards -
It's a real treat to have embossed calling cards.
- Conferences - What
a treat to go to a computer conference.
||Coupons are a great perk,
especially the free ones that come in the mail.
||Get your employees something from the land of fruits &
||A convention is an exotic locale is a great perk.
Functional Managers (Oracle
DBA's, Linux managers, Application Administrators) often get nicer perks, up to
about $30k per year.
- Telecommuting -
Many companies allow part-time work-at-home arrangements.
- Stock Options -
This is a biggie, as stock options can pay more than a base salary.
- First Class air travel
- Many companies have policies that long flights requires a first class
- Private Office - No
cubicles for the junior IT manager.
- Shared secretary -
Your get a part-time secretary to assist with the mundane parts of the job.
Mid-level IT managers can
negotiate for more expensive perks, in the realm of $50k-$80k per year:
- Company Car - It's
not uncommon for companies to lease vehicles for mid-level IT managers.
- Key to the Executive
Washroom - This is the most prized benefit of all, entry into the
potties of the elite.
- Personal Secretary
- A personal secretary is a great perk.
- Dress Code waiver -
Managers can wear anything they want, or nothing at all.
- Personalized Parking
Slot - A custom sign on a perking slot is a real perk, even better if
it's inside the executive garage.
||A secretary is very handy.
||The key to the executive potty.
||A flexible dress code is a perk.
||Your name on a parking space.
and CIO Perks
At the VP level, the perks get
even better, often amounting to over $100k per year:
Unlimited Vacation - VP's can take all the vacation they want, but this
is a "paper perk", since they are expected to work 60 hours every week.
Office Bedroom -
I've seen several VP's insist on a private bedroom adjacent to their office
with a complete bathroom and shower, and this perk is considered a prestige
item, like a corner office.
- Country Club Membership
- Some memberships can cost upwards of $60,000 per year, and many
corporations have a policy that all VP's get a membership.
- Executive Lounges -
Membership in the airline clubs like "Admirals Club", "Star alliance", "US
Airways Club", etc.
||VP commodes are fancy.
||The country club is relaxing
||A good executive
deserves an office bedroom.
If you need to hire a
highly-specialized talent from a limited job pool, using "Golden Handcuffs"
are mandatory. Golden Handcuff jobs are rare because there are very few
candidates and lots of buyers. In a Golden Handcuff hiring, you pay an
obscene hiring bonus with the requirement that the money be paid-back if the
employee leaves within five years.
By human nature, the lucky
executive buy nice executive toys (Rolex watches, new BMW's, Gucci suits) and
are forced by circumstances to honor their time obligation.
The following job roles are
examples where I've seen Golden Handcuffs used:
- SAP BASIS Administrator
- A BASIS administrator who can guarantee a smooth implementation is worth
their weight in gold. I saw one guy get $100k signing bonus, and
immediately spend it (as planned) but it back-fired. Another desperate
employer paid-off the $100k buyout, leaving the employer high-and-dry.
- Oracle Applications
Functional Expert - I knew a CPA with a proven record of rolling-out
successful implementations of Oracle Financials get a $100,000 signing
bonus. It was small price to pay for the security of knowing that the
rollout would be smooth.
- Oracle RAC DBA - A
DBA with experience in Real Application Clusters in a multi-billion dollar
banking database is very valuable. There are only a handful of
companies in the world with this volume, and desperate banks will pay huge
sums for a DBA with a proven track record.
- Web Presence Manager
- IT managers with a track-record of building viable web companies are worth
a fortune to venture capital investors. I've seen $500,000 incentive
bonuses for a five year commitment from a leader with a proven track-record of
Executive Perks - A
Everyone knows that
properly-applied financial perks can reap huge benefits, but not in obvious
ways. For example, contrary to popular belief, cash bonuses and stock
options do not make employees happier, and perks have been proven not to improve
morale. However, numerous studies show that perks are completely effective
for ensuring executive compliance and for the retention of key employees:
- Many studies show that goal-based financial perks are amazing motivators.
I worked for a Fortune 5000 corporation that paid a $40k cash MBO bonus for
every executive who did not go over their budget. One penny over, for
any reason, and no bonus. At the end of the year the company was 100%
- Improving Retention
- The old "Golden Handcuffs" approach is extremely effective for keeping
However, you must be careful to
apply perks appropriately, and for the right reasons.
These are just my personal observations, and
your mileage may vary. I'm sure that there are many more executive perks
that I've missed and if you have suggestions I'd like to hear from you.
Just e-mail me
with your suggestions!
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