Benefits by Boeing – employee benefits needn’t cost big $$

I recently visited the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington and I struck up a conversation with our friendly tour guide about what it is like to work there. Jewell told me “Most employees are really happy here. They love seeing the results of their work, the finished product at the end of construction. The benefits are really good”.

I enquired about the benefits and she elaborated: There are six onsite cafes for the employees, DVD hire booths, drycleaning pick up and delivery to the site, an onsite day care centre and health club. Employees with more than 25 years service get onsite car parking (others park off site and are bussed in). The company provides 1300 pushbikes used by employees to get around the factory.and there is a Boeing Employees Credit Union on site for banking.

Given the size of the site,(the factory itself is 13000000cubic meters, 2.1 miles around, 11 stories high and the area of 800 hockey fields, all under one roof. There are 38000 employees at the plant, working 3 shifts, around the clock, seven days a week), Jewell told me that people really appreciate the convenience of having things available to them onsite “being able to grab a DVD to watch at home, or drop off your drycleaning without having to drive into town, is really important”.

I asked if Boeing paid for the services, or if they were subsidised in some way, but according to Jewell, they are not. “Employees pay for services, they are not subsidised by Boeing, but employees just really appreciate the convenience”.

Employee reviews on glassdoor, are overwhelmingly positive about the benefits provided by the company.

To read a good case study on Boeing’ “move to the lake” and the impact on employee satisfaction

Interestingly the information available publicly about Boeing on their website and annual reports, doesn’t highlight any of these conveniences. I suspect, like many companies, they don’t consider these things as benefits because they don’t cost anything.

If you are struggling in the war for talent because you are restricted in the benefits you can offer, think outside the square. What can you offer in conjunction with local businesses that will provide a convenience for your people and won’t cost you? On site ATM? Drycleaning pick up? Coffee or lunch delivery? Car detailing in the car park? What other suggestions do you have?

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2 replies on “Benefits by Boeing – employee benefits needn’t cost big $$”

Hi Ros,
A few years ago (early 2000’s) I was associated with a couple of companies who had researched the benefits of providing services such as you describe.
One company in Brisbane I’m aware of (involved in Blue Collar HR placement) went so far as to put in a full kitchen including an elevated table and barstools and stocked the pantry and fridge with nutritious food enabling employees to prepare a meal or a snack when they were hungry rather than waiting for a 1pm lunch break, drive around in a hot car and pick up greasy takeaway. They also provided a concierge service for drycleaning and other errands such as banking, paying accounts etc. which significantly reduced the amount of time lost on personal phone calls arranging stuff like researching insurances and buying cars.
I’m not aware of the exact figures, however I’m led to believe that it was one of the measures which transformed the company from possible receivership to delivering a return to the shareholders over and above the wages they drew from the company.
My point is you don’t need to be the size of Boeing to implement stuff that improves the quality of your employees working day.
Kind regards, Debra 🙂

I absolutely agree – often it is the little things that make the difference, and any company can do them.

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