Beyond the Build


Worth your Salt: A Few Thoughts to Consider Beyond Financial Benefits

Worth Your Salt

These days, salt gets a bad rap. The USDA tells us that sprinkling too much on food can result in high blood pressure. We’re encouraged to steer clear.

But in ancient times, salt represented a lifeline. It’s main role was as a preservative. In the absence of refrigeration, that was exceptionally important. So important, that Roman soldiers received some portion of their pay in the form of a salt allowance. It was called a “salary,” and that’s where we get the modern term for fixed pay.

Today, the concept of a salary continues to evolve. Just like the Romans, we receive a portion of our pay as money–coins for the ancients,  a check for us. But money is only part of a total compensation system that employers offer to employees. Bonuses, incentive pay, commissions and insurance benefits are also common ways to pay employees.

Around here, we’ve found that, while adequate monetary compensation is important, there are plenty of other valuable ways to show team members we appreciate them. Here are a few things that have worked for us:

1. Free Food. We maintain a fairly large organic garden at our place. During growing seasons, gardeners come each week to harvest vegetables. Our folks are encouraged to visit the baskets of produce and take what they can use for their families.

2. Our Campus. We are fortunate to be headquartered on a beautiful piece of property a short drive from the city and airport. The campus is woodsy, welcoming and centered around a lake, which offers some nice views. Beyond this, many of us take advantage of the property and the place for use at individual social events, birthday parties and catch and release fishing for our families. We’ve even staged a few photoshoots out here.

3. Health and Wellness. There’s a walking trail looping around our place that many use on their lunch hour. We also host a health coach frequently to help our folks make good food choices.

What does your team value? How are benefits changing?

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.