Finding The Perfect Non-Monetary Workplace Perk

One of the mainstays of my traditional consulting work is negotiating individual work agreements; for managers, this usually focuses on executive employment agreements and for musicians, individual overscale agreements and one of the first aspects of that work is to identify non-monetary perks that have variable degrees of value for the client. More often than not, they tend to overlook a number of items simply because it never occurred to them that it was something you could ask for. In ideal situations, the perk is win-win in that it will cost the employer little to nothing yet will increase employee satisfaction and/or help them to be more efficient.

Adaptistration People 020But no matter how insular some clients are on the potential scope of terms available, it doesn’t compare to the blinders worn by most middle managers and entry level employees. In most cases, these professionals limit the scope of advancement to financial improvements and some of the more obvious perks like flex time.

Fortunately, a little leg work to help uncover the win-win can go a long way so let’s have a little fun today and open up the discussion to share what sort of non-monetary perks you’ve been able to secure that made you a happier, healthier, more productive arts manager or musician. Keep it simple; meaning, something that’s easily introduced in a typical performance review or walk-in raise ask. After all, the more win-win options out there, the better.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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3 thoughts on “Finding The Perfect Non-Monetary Workplace Perk”

  1. I know this is about non-monetary perks but at some point I’d like to hear a discussion about the “rightness” vs. “wrongness” of bonus/incentive pay to orchestra (and even nonprofit, in general) CEOs/EDs. As the chief fundraisers of their organizations, are these leaders aware that the AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) has a code of ethics that does not support this widely-used “perk” for the those at the very top? Well, perhaps those leaders know but could care less. What I’m getting at is when nonprofits–orchestras especially–are underwater with deficits posted annually, some CEOs/EDs still manage to have this extra pay included in their contracts and paid out to them. Personally, I believe that no bonus or incentive pay should be distributed unless and until the organization does NOT post a deficit. Again, to me, this is just ethically wrong. I’m not talking about nominal raises for all those on staff; I’m talking about bonuses that go into the tens of thousands….enough, in some cases, to add another orchestra position or admin staffer.

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