Author Topic: Boss spending money on workers  (Read 13868 times)

Mom to 5

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Boss spending money on workers
« on: April 11, 2014, 07:32:15 AM »
If you are working in a situation where there is a boss w/employees, does the boss spend his/her personal money for the benefit of employees? Such as, buying lunches, funding parties, etc...

I would like to hear other people's experiences to understand what is common.

Thanks!

tmac

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 07:38:00 AM »
In my experience as a superviser at someone else's company and an owner of my own, it's typically the company's money.

2527

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 07:43:43 AM »
When I was in the military, I spent my own money on my subordinates for things like meals, small gifts, and going away plaques.  I also spent my own money to attend "mandatory fun."

nereo

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 07:44:19 AM »
That's a tricky one.

My personal experience: I worked as the manager for a small company with 11 other employees. Most of the workers were hired as manual labor types (no college education requried, pay started at $9.50/hr).
about once a month I would randomly bring in coffee and donuts for everyone out of my own pocket at a personal cost of about $25.  It was an effective but very temporary moral booster, and I generally did it  the day after a particularly challenging day when everyone preformed well.

I was happy to do it but I was also always conscience of not making it "expected" from the employees.  Our company operated on such a thin margin and had a lot of long-term debt that we had no slush-fund to pay for these perks.  Most of our management meetings were spent trying to figure out whether we could afford to pay the workers 10 or 20 more.

Catbert

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 07:45:58 AM »
I was a government employee so my employer didn't kick in for lunches or parties.  As a supervisor I'd bring a ham or other expensive dish to potlucks, I hosted a holiday open house at my home for the office each year, and would bring in things like ice cream sandwiches on hot summer days (no air conditioning).   Nothing too major.  I think people particularly appreciated/enjoyed the random treat (i.e., ice cream sandwiches).

For private concerns I think tmac is right, it's usually the company that pays.

kimmarg

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 07:54:40 AM »
I was a government employee so my employer didn't kick in for lunches or parties.  As a supervisor I'd bring a ham or other expensive dish to potlucks, I hosted a holiday open house at my home for the office each year, and would bring in things like ice cream sandwiches on hot summer days (no air conditioning).   Nothing too major.  I think people particularly appreciated/enjoyed the random treat (i.e., ice cream sandwiches).

For private concerns I think tmac is right, it's usually the company that pays.

I work for the government too and this is how it is at my office. The boss usually brings in a larger/fancier contribution to pot lucks and holiday parties and always chips in to various retirement gifts, etc. We usually pass around a card and contribution envelope so it's anonymous but it's sort of understood that the supervisor is usually on the generous end. oh and if you have a mandatory 8am meeting(very rare for us)  bring donuts :)

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 08:01:50 AM »
No, but the company buys us food, drinks, outings, etc. on a pretty regular basis. This may be a distinction without a difference, because the company is tiny and owned by a married couples, so presumably anything the corporation doesn't spend they would take as income, but they save on tax buying it via the company.

^ This. The company's money is the owners money, plus a little of the governments money via the tax savings from whatever expenses you're talking about.

If the boss is the owner and spends money from his/her own pocket, they are either extra generous, or oblivious to the benefit of spending the company's money instead of their own. If the boss is a non-owner/employee it's different, but even then many companies have expense accounts for employee/client/customer entertainment and they may be reimbursed by the company without you even knowing it.

samburger

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2014, 08:02:54 AM »
My boss swipes her handy dandy corporate AmEx.

I'm at a massive corporation where managers have budget for buying tokens of appreciation for their direct reports.

Spork

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 08:24:49 AM »
In my experience: It varies.

* One place I worked (verybig corporation) it was rare and it was expensed back to the company.
* Where my sister works, it's relatively common and it is expensed back to the company.
* Where I work now, it's relatively common and it seems to come out of the boss's pocket.  (This is a director level boss, where Director -> Manager -> me.)  At least once a month he will buy everyone lunch or breakfast on a whim.  On Christmas everyone gets a $25-$50 gift.  And it appears to be a company thing.  There have been several directors and each have seemed to follow this tradition.

CommonCents

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2014, 08:40:08 AM »
Current government job: No slush fund (except for the pizza lunch at the monthly meeting).  Horrors if the newspaper should hear we have a non-lavish lunch out once on the taxpayers dime.  If we hold an offsite party of some kind, the bosses will pay for any fees (usually it's a "run a tab of at least $500 or pay the difference" situation), or order some appetizers or such on them.  We do potluck parties usually for events with voluntary contributions, and usually it's partially catered, and the bosses pick up any tab not fully covered by those donations.  I work for the state, and we did a joint drinks with apps and the CMS person who could join us insisted on paying her own way though bc she couldn't accept the gift.

Private law firm: Corporate credit cards. 

Nonprofit: Rare, rare, the manager would pull out the card for little things like a bulb for a holiday present.  The new admin assistant started bringing in donuts on Fridays and he persuaded the boss to pay for free coffees for that day.  Basically...it never happened.  Things like farewell parties for an employee were on each employee's dime.

oldtoyota

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2014, 08:43:48 AM »
I do not have a dime to spend on subordinates. Despite this, I took them to a fancy lunch to celebrate the new year. It was about $65 and part of my personal budget for that month.

I try to reward their good work in other ways. Specifically, I'm aiming to help them get promoted, which would be more money. And I submit them to receive rewards when they have done something especially well. I tell the senior leadership about the good work they do. Or, helping them get training they want. I know it's not "fun," but I think helping them develop their skills will help them earn more $$ in the future. They are smart and can make that connection. =-)


nosyparker

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2014, 08:49:10 AM »
my fiance's boss (employee not owner) buys them lunch (sandwiches) every 2 months or so after a particularly tough week. from her own pocket. the company provides no bonuses, no christmas party, no extras at all so this small boost really helps morale.

James

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 09:23:58 AM »
I work in a hospital surgical department, and am a higher paid employee for the area. When we were smaller I would buy lunch for everyone a couple times a year, and bring in snacks at times.


Now that we are bigger and I am more mustachian I have stopped doing that.


Not sure I have any strong opinions, so I will leave it at that... :)

Russ

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 09:48:00 AM »
bike shop - pizza every Sunday, company $$

gov't aerospace contractor - occasional (monthly?) lunch, boss paid half the time which was kind of awkward since you never knew

automotive manufacturing - nothing plus 70 hours weeks = felt very unappreciated

undergrad machine shop - snacks/beverages for staying on the clock through lunch

today - company-paid lunch once a month or so, usually in recognition of extra effort but sometimes just because. Everybody loves it.

Of course that doesn't have to be the only way to give recognition. I'd be just as happy with a plate of homemade cookies or some decent beer in the office kitchen with maybe a handmade "thank you" card.

CommonCents

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 10:19:03 AM »
This is a gov job w/no slush fund. I guess my husband feels it boosts morale as a few have mentioned. It is a monthly meal from an inexpensive chain place, costing about $30. He also does other things, such as they all went out to eat recently, celebrating something ($85), and that is in addition to our meal we provide them. We also host holiday party, which is potluck, but we are providing a good portion of the meal. I haven't heard of other people in his field feeding their workers so I would like to cut back a bit (considering we don't even go out on dates and such very often to save money), so I wanted to see what was considered normal.

So my suggestion is less costly "thank yous" than $85 a pop, but more frequently than 1-2x a year.  Buy $10pp lunch once, bring in donuts a month or two later, etc.  Also - they may not know that you are subsidizing the potluck so considering if you can "advertise" it in any way as it can be unclear that that $ comes from you rather than the "company".  As another poster put it - irregular can also be better so it doesn't become expected and therefore the moral boost lost.

And it's also the little things.  On Friday, we were scrambling to get something critical done that came up.  I mostly missed the baby shower we threw for a coworker.  My boss asked if I at least got something to eat and I said I ran in, said congrats and got some fruit.  She then went to it and brought me a plate of food.  Silly little thing, but it let me know she appreciated I was working hard and missing out.  My old General Counsel used to every so often (1x a week/every other week) bring around cookies/brownies around 4ish, and just check in to ask how I was doing.

And oldtoyota is right - getting approved for training, raises, etc is appreciated too.  (Although it doesn't happen here.)

Norrie

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2014, 10:49:05 AM »
I work for a state university, and our boss buys us lunch on our birthday and various treats (donuts, another lunch) about once a year. Everyone in the department is pretty frugal overall. There are a few of us who try to bring in baked goods a couple times a year, just for a morale boost.

StarryC

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2014, 10:55:12 AM »
Working at a law firm, where the bosses are partners, it is the company money and therefore the partner's money.

As an employee in the middle, I do spend some of my own money on those who help me.  I think it is expected that we "share" our bonus with our secretaries and paralegals at Christmas time.  I'll also buy coffee for them if it's a rough day etc. I also buy at least some of the stuff their kids sell for fundraisers/ donate to that kind of thing.

I think it would be hard to STOP doing the $30 (total?!) lunches each month unless the workers didn't really like it.  Stopping something like that could be taken much harder than never having it at all.  $30 is not a lot.  That would only be like 3 people (no tips, no drinks) at a chain restaurant, or 4 at fast food?

tmac

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2014, 11:01:31 AM »
No, but the company buys us food, drinks, outings, etc. on a pretty regular basis. This may be a distinction without a difference, because the company is tiny and owned by a married couples, so presumably anything the corporation doesn't spend they would take as income, but they save on tax buying it via the company.

This is the case for us. My husband buys our three employees lunch and a couple of beers almost every Friday and while it goes on the company card, the (post-tax) dollars would have otherwise ended up in our pocket. The guys work really hard and we're glad to do it. Anything to show them our appreciation.

They tell us that their favorite perk is that no one has to work on their birthdays. It's my favorite too.

CommonCents

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2014, 11:17:31 AM »
For the last 10yrs I've worked at oil majors where it all went on company card (other than alcohol) but if the budget was cut I would not expect my boss to pay for a Nandos (or whatever US equivalent if you don't have Nandos) to boost morale. Down the pub and everyone paying for their own drinks is fine with me.  I expect my boss to reward me by paying me fairly for my work, that's pretty much it.

I posted above on what the bosses have done...But I didn't add what I do for folks:
- I keep a candy bowl in my office with chocolates and other treats
- I bring in baked goods every once in a while (brought in homemade peanut butter cups - better than Reese's cups, addictive homemade caramels used as our wedding favors which a friend made us, etc.)
- I contribute to the voluntary donations when asked for events for people I work with (bridal shower, baby shower, retirement, etc.).  I contribute on the high end if I work closely, lower suggested end if not.  I don't contribute if they work in my office, but I don't know them/work with them.

There's not an "expectation" the boss will do things and spend money.  It's just a nice pick me upper if they do, and it's something more people do in different ways than just the boss.  In fact, there's a stand location that the legal department will leave treats and send around a note to everyone they've done so - from Girl Scout cookies, to the macroons from Hawaii after someone took a trip there.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2014, 06:00:49 PM »
My bosses are the family of owners. They do a Christmas "party", which is just a free lunch but no cessation of work at all.

That's pretty much it.

CommonCents

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2014, 01:31:45 PM »
I realize that the $30/mo sounds like a little thing to some of you. I think the bigger issue for me may be that I am the one delivering it to them, and I really need that time for other things now, whereas I didn't so much when we started the arrangement. The employees are paid maximum allowed at the job. He is their mentor, so he is spending a lot of time to help them in other ways. It looks like he may be OK with going to get it himself, so I will be relieved of that duty.

Thanks for the replies.

Why do you deliver it?  If he is the boss, he should deliver it as part of the mentoring/boss aspect.  (Otherwise you get limited benefit from the gift.)  Anyhow, my suggestion is that if that's the issue, then solve it as you have - have your husband do it.

Shor

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2014, 03:02:22 PM »
I'm not the Team Moderator for my group. I just happen to be that guy that's been here the longest so knows too much about everything.

Whenever I go out to lunch with coworkers (face punch) I will randomly pay for someone else's lunch sometimes (facepunch). I also usually do the driving (facepunch) so sometimes they pay for mine (ding)

I do this to boost morale, because I know our boss is super stingy with his own money (ugh) for other people, and the company is super stingy with rewarding its employees (ugh).
Usually the token appreciation is enough for some people, though I should probably tie it with a "Well done on ___" to get the point across.

Unfortunately, I've never noted anyone else stepping forward to token each other except me, so maybe it's not catching on at all..
I think the boost helps. Am I simply being naive?

rocklebock

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2014, 03:54:54 PM »
I take my new hires out to coffee or lunch on their first day, and bring snacks in when I feel like it. I have someone retiring soon, and I'll be organizing and liberally seeding a gift fund (these are always totally optional where I work). Recently I had a really unpleasant clean-up task I needed done, and I offered gift cards to encourage people to step up. You wouldn't believe how fast it happened, and with zero complaints. Totally worth it.  All of the preceding is with my money. Our organization has a small catering budget that I can tap into for an all-staff event.

CheckEngineLight

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2014, 04:59:40 PM »
I have staff of 6 and work in Finance.  For birthdays, milestone celebrations, long days I always treat staff to lunch/dinner/cake and expense it.  Xmas is the one time I used to buy individual employees gift cards, that ended up running me well over a $100 out of pocket so I started taking them to a team xmas lunch (in addition to the big company one) and I expense it.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2014, 07:08:02 PM »
I think it's reasonable to spend a small amount on your workers or even colleagues. I know that when a colleague brought in cupcakes and a small present for my birthday, it meant the world to me and definitely boosted morale.

As others have mentioned, this doesn't have to be expensive. Baked goods, thoughtful messages written in cards, or even some chocolate on a Friday afternoon will all help show appreciation without breaking the bank. Now that I've got direct reports again I'm planning to make sure I show appreciation on a fairly regular (though randomly timed) basis to keep spirits high.

spoonman

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2014, 09:23:21 PM »
Back in grad school our advisors and senior scientists used to treat us every once in a long while, and I appreciated it.

In the industry that I work in now, such a thing is unthinkable.  Hell, even little luxuries like free snacks and coffee are things we've never had.  Everything is paid by employees.

kite

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2014, 10:08:02 PM »
Our boss is always buying cookies, candy.... at least weekly.
With my prior boss, monthly pizza lunches were the norm.   After work gatherings for drinks a few times per year, especially when some project was delivered or some milestone was achieved. 

EngineerMum

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2014, 10:17:04 PM »
We get great coffee from the machine during the week, but if we have to work weekends (probably happens about once a month or two) we aren't allowed to turn it on (it needs cleaning daily - can't turn it on if there is no one to clean it) so immediate boss will offer to buy us all a decent coffee from the cafe down the road rather than drinking instant. It's usually understood that "the job" will pay for lunch on a weekend day or dinner if people work that late - that is, someone puts it on their card and charges it as an expense to the project so the bill is ultimately paid by the client. The manager is expected to do the paying, so if it doesn't get reimbursed they will take it on the chin.
Every company I've worked for has done a Christmas function, usually a 3 course dinner at a fancy venue, often with spouses invited. That's paid for by the company, one place had a whole of office party paid by the company, plus a department party from the department budget, plus a group lunch for our immediate group which the immediate manager paid out of his pocket. Current company also do a family day for Christmas, with gifts for everyone's children, entertainers, and a basic barbeque lunch. Plus a sundowner on the bosses boat. Frankly, I actually thought the latter was a bit tacky - when staff had been given paycuts of 15%, is it really a good idea for the CEO to be showing off his $4 M boat? Even if it is to give everyone a pleasant evening on the water (and it was a fun night).

sleepyguy

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Re: Boss spending money on workers
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2014, 05:21:36 AM »
It's 99% of the time on the company, unless he invites you over to his home for a department BBQ... sure that is on his coin.