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71: Perks & Benefits: A Look Inside the Team Bonnie Handbook

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These things really tell your employees that you value their well-being, not just their output. It really helps cultivate a culture on the team and really in the long run helps cultivate loyalty and retention to your team as well. You know, it is so much more about just what we get done. It's about building relationships with each other and really adding to everyone's life, not just taking from it. I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all things, creativity, design, business, and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town tough right inside the Smoky Mountains running a multi 7 figure business, doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. But when I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer. Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success.

I'm here to help you end your life doing something that lights you up, I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want, and is wildly profitable.

Welcome to the professional creative podcast. Today, I'm opening the team handbook for team Bonnie Christine, and I wanna share with you some of the things that are inside specifically the perks. that people on team Bonnie receive. We're also gonna talk about the benefits. But before I get there, I'm also gonna cover how the team handbook came to be, how I created it, why I created it, then I'm gonna share some of the specific with you, and then I'm going to give you an overview of how you could get started creating your own team handbook if you want. Now I know some of you don't have a team or you might just have 1 or 2 people who help you out or perhaps They are contractors in your business, but I wanted to do this episode because when I set out about a year ago to create our team handbook, I found it really difficult. I couldn't find very much information on how to create a handbook, what I needed to put inside of it, And so even if you don't have a team right now, I'm hoping that this episode is one that you'll save and come back to because there are so many things to think about when it comes to fostering team culture and really taking care of your people.

Before we dive in, I wanna give you kind of an introduction to the difference between perks and benefits. because I think sometimes they get, you know, used interchangeably, but they are a little bit different. Perks and benefits are both advantages provided to an employee beyond their regular salaries or hourly wages. And there are some differences. So benefits are typically forms of non wage compensation that are offered to your employees. And they often include things like health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and things like maternity leave. The benefits you can think of are kind of the more serious or substantial offerings that directly impact an employee's quality of life. Now perks are where in my mind, I get to have a little bit of fun.

These are extra advantages or bonuses that are designed to enhance the work place environment and very specific to your employees. They are things that are unique to supporting our team values, and I like to think about them as icing on the cake. So we'll get to exactly what our perks and benefits on team Bonnie are in just a little bit. Before we get there though, I wanted talk about really the origin of the team handbook and why we needed 1. So we had, I believe, six people on the team before I had a team handbook, and we have a couple of things that we put into place. One rule that we have on the team is this philosophy of clear is kind. And we got this from Brene Brown. Brene teaches this rule, clear is kind.

Clear is kind really means that the clear you can be, the kinder it is. even if it's difficult or if it's a difficult conversation, clear is always the kindest way to go about it. So We really realized that there were a lot of things on the team that just weren't clear. Like, of course, you can take time off. If you need time off, just let us know. or, you know, maybe there is some budget. If you need a new equipment, just let us know. And those things are not very clear.

There's not a clear process, and it means that someone working for you doesn't really know how to approach it. Doesn't really know, like, how much the budget is. and things like that. So when I set out to develop the handbook, we had our team retreat coming up, and this is such a fun thing. I didn't tell anybody that I was working on it. And, normally, I would have brought Lisa, my integrator into it, and maybe Rebecca, my designer in to help me make the PDF, but I wanted very much to surprise everyone with the handbook. So I developed the entire thing on my own. And so that year, we had our team retreat.

This was just about a year ago in Phoenix, Arizona. And I'll never forget the moment we were coming together around a table to begin the day. And I got to hand out. I got them printed beautifully, and I got to hand out our team handbook to everyone there. And we spent about an hour just going through it. And at some point, people were laughing. At some point, people were crying. and it was such a fun thing as a leader to be able to deliver to the team.

It's something that I'm really proud of. And, again, we're about a year into using it, and it's gone really, really well. So the way that I set out to create it was not only to do a lot of Searchie, but to also really involve the team without letting them know that I was working on a team handbook. So I surveyed everyone on the team before our team retreat. And I just had a couple of questions in there that I knew would be able to help inform me when I got to creating our, handbook. So one of the questions was is there a perk or a benefit that you would love to have on the team? And so some people had some really great ideas that I was able to pull from. There's so many reasons that having a clear team handbook is so incredibly important. One of them is just around motivation and productivity.

This can really boost morale and help drive performance and even really helps spur creativity. For instance, one of our perks is that we have Fridays off in the summer. And so this is the 1st summer that we've been exploring Fridays off. And so we created a new Slack channel called summer Fridays. and everyone gets to come in and really talk about what they're doing for that Friday. And it's just a fun way to really boost each other's creativity. Oftentimes, they are taking off to go on vacation or a little trip, or oftentimes they're working on their own business on Fridays. as well.

So it's been really fun to not only implement it, but implement a way for us to share about it as well. and that really builds team culture as well. The next one is loyalty and work life balance. you know, perks and benefits can really increase loyalty. These things really tell your employees that you value their well-being, not just their output. It really helps cultivate a culture on the team and really in the long run helps cultivate loyalty and retention to your team as well. You know, it is so much more about just what we get done. It's about building relationships with each other and really adding to everyone's life, not just taking from it.

And, of course, we wanted to customize our perks and benefits that will really, like, tailor them to our team's needs and preference And so that survey was a huge part of it, but we also have team values. And I tried to customize our perks to better support our values as well. So I wanna kind of breeze through the benefits of someone who's working on team Bonnie because I really wanna spend most of the time on the perks because I had so much fun developing them. But We do have a a large list of benefits for everyone who's an employee at Team Bonnie. The first one is all about financial wellness. We offer a 401 k plan to everyone on the team, and the company will match employee contributions. And so this is all set up through a company called human interest, and we've had a great experience with them. We also have several ways for leave and time off.

1 is vacation time, so employees get PTO or paid time off and that's set up differently whether you're on salary or hourly for us, but everyone gets PTO in a given year. We also do something really fun called a paid vacation. And so this is where employees receive $1000 as a bonus for one vacation every calendar year when they take at least 5 consecutive days off. And so they're not allowed check-in, they can also bump it up against a weekend so they can get potentially, like, 7 to 9 days off if they want. but everyone on the team gets that, which has been so fun to really help support this balance of enjoying time off as well. We also have 11 paid holidays. That's New Year's Day, Good Friday, Martin Luther King Day Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Eve, Christmas, and everyone's own birthday is a paid holiday. for that person.

Next, we include sick time, mental health time, and well-being time. Anytime someone needs to take time off for those. We also do maternity leave up to 8 weeks of paid leave for anyone who is having a baby or adopting a child. We have medical leave up to 4 weeks of medical leave. Anytime someone has an illness or an injury. Similarly, we also include up to 2 weeks of bereavement leave and up to 2 weeks of disaster leave, which, of course, we hope no one ever has to take. We also have an unlimited amount of unpaid leave. So if anyone needs to take extra time off, they can always put in an unpaid leave request.

And then the last one is sabbatical. So if you reach 5 continuous years with the team, you get 4 weeks of paid sabbatical leave and then every 3 years after that. So that's just a quick overview of the benefits you get. as a part of team Bonnie. Now I wanna go into some of the perks that the team gets This was really fun for me. It was kind of like walking into Disneyland for taking care of your team. And I had so much fun just really thinking about what would make everyone's time here really just worth it and exciting and also again reinforce the values that we have on the team as well. So some of the perks that you get as part of being on team Bonnie is an equipment budget.

So we all work virtually, and we all are heavily involved in tech. Meaning, we have computers and cameras and you know, iPad sometimes to assist in our work. And so sometimes people just come to the team, and they're in need of updating their equipment. So anyone on the core team, which is an employee, receives a $2000 equipment budget upon coming on to the team. And then after that, we give a $1000 every 2 years that is specific to, like, updating equipment And then everyone also gets a $360 stipend every year to cover learning and development budget. We call this the l and d budget because we so very much value growth and skill enhancement everyone gets an annual budget of $25100 towards learning. So this can be used for book or classes or conferences or a certification course as long as it is submitted and approved and it kind of needs to go along with your role at Team Bonnie to enhance your skill set that you use on the team. We also have a health and wellness budget And this really supports our value that a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

So we give each team member a monthly budget of $100 for a health and wellness initiative. So that could be a gym membership, yoga classes, a personal trainer, or any other approved health program. One that I'm really proud of as well is a house cleaning budget. I firsthand just know the challenge of blending work in home. We have several women on the team who have young children, and everyone is working from home. So to really just promote that productive environment, everyone on the team gets a monthly budget of a $100 for house cleaning. Okay. So the next one is flexible hours and summer hours.

We have this kind of max flex approach to work. There are times where we all need to be online at the same time, but for a lot of things, it can really be done whenever it works best for the person. So team members within reason set their own schedules and they just have to communicate those with the rest of the team. We also have several different time zones represented on the team. And so It's fairly flexible as long as the work gets done. We also are trying for the first time a 4 day work week. So from June 1st to August 31st, we implement a 4 day work week. I'll have to tell you more about that, but that has been really fun.

The next one is complementary access to all of our products. Of course, if you're on the team, you get access to everything that goes out, from an education perspective. And then we also let everyone give access to one product to one person per year that's outside of our organ the next one that I talked about recently on our giving episode is charitable contributions. I believe in giving back so much. And so 10% of the company's gross revenue is always donated to charitable causes every year. but each team member also gets to submit a charity of their choice. And then we do an anonymous vote, and the winner gets a $10,000 donation in their name made to that charity. And even if yours didn't get chosen from the team vote, we also give a $1000 donation to everyone's charity that they chose in that person's name.

Finally, we have something called the quarterly goals incentive bonus. And so this begins after you're with us for 1 year, and we then begin to create quarterly goals for everyone on the team. And based on your performance, you can earn up to 20 percent of your salary or your average wages for that quarter based on how you were able to accomplish those goals. And so that's an entire system in and of itself. If you're interested in learning more about that, I can do an episode on our quarterly goals, incentive bonuses, but we are about a year and a half into this program, and we have really loved it. So that kinda sums up our, suite of benefits and perks. I think developing this and the team handbook has been one of the best things that I ever did as a leader of this team. And I think that the team would tell you the same thing.

it has just really enhanced our culture and the way that we work together. So I wanna talk to you about creating your own, maybe like a starter guide to creating your own team handbook. And the first thing I would say is really just identify the needs identify your team's unique needs, their unique preferences, and your unique values And this can be done by maybe surveying your team or just having a team meeting or maybe just one on one discussions. around what do the people on your team really value and what do they really need? The next step would just be to brainstorm, do some Searchie, and gather a list of potential benefits and perks that you might need on your team and then have fun with it. I'm encouraging creativity here. It should be something fun to do. Then you'll need to evaluate, you know, really weigh the feasibility of each perk or benefit against your company's budget and capacity. Is it something that you can afford? Is it something that you can build into your program, and is it something that you'll be able to do for a long time, then you'll move into implementation.

So you'll need to start small if you need to and really create a process and a plan as you roll out each one, but announce them and begin creating a process for tracking them and, you know, delivering them. And then finally, you'll just want to regularly review them. You'll want to survey maybe months in or a year in and just get feedback from the people who are receiving your perks and benefits and, you know, be ready to make a change if necessary. So as you really brainstorm the perks and benefits that you want to give to your team, I wanna encourage you to really look back at your values. You know, we value health, and so the health and wellness budget was a clear way to put our money where our mouth is sort of thing. We always talk about really valuing balance and, you know, having work time and then family time. And so a 4 day work week and flexible hours was an easy one to come up with. And then I always really talk about how, especially as women and mothers, we cannot do it all.

And so the house cleaning budget was an easy one to say yes to, but that's a great example of one that I'm not sure I would have come up with on my own. but someone in our team survey brought it up that they had seen another company offering it and how cool it would be if a week could offer that well, and I absolutely loved it. Just don't forget to always get feedback. You wanna start with some feedback around what the people who are working with you would really enjoy, and then you wanna get feedback later on after you've implemented it. And just listen to your team and figure out what's working and what isn't and if there's something else that they would prefer. So I hope that opening up our team handbook for you today was just kind of exciting and interesting for you to listen to. I hope that you can wrap your mind around maybe embracing this for yourself and the people who are working with you. I think as we begin to develop teams and work with people, it is so incredibly important to attract the right people and really take care of them once they're inside your world because they are everything.

I wouldn't be where I am today without the team that I have, And I wanna make sure that they always know that I know that, that I appreciate them, and that we're really always working to develop a team culture that is fun and exciting and gives them life. If you would like a recap of this episode of the benefits in the per that I covered. You can head on over to the show notes for this episode. Those are at professional creative.com. My friends create the beauty that you want to see come alive in the world and remember there's room for you. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.

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I'm Bonnie Christine.


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