Magazine article Personnel Journal

Hallmark Benefits Its Employees (AKA: Owners)

Magazine article Personnel Journal

Hallmark Benefits Its Employees (AKA: Owners)

Article excerpt

Way back in 1956, Hallmark founder Joyce Hall had an idea that then was none-too-common: Encourage employees in their work by sharing the profits of the company with them. The profit-sharing program has remained an integral part of the Hallmark benefits package ever since, continually evolving to offer employees bigger and bigger stakes. In the late '70s, for instance, the company began investing in Hallmark stock.

Today, employees own one-third of the company. "It's very much a part of our culture," says Tresia Franklin, manager of benefits administration. "We hear comments all the time about how employees just want to do the best they can for the profit sharing."

The profit-sharing plan is a major means of keeping Hallmarkers involved and interested in the company's success. To ensure employees realize how good they have it, the Hallmark personalized benefits statement highlights the monetary value of an employee's benefits, as well as showcases the progression of their profit-sharing balance over the year. "The rest of the statement includes savings accounts and shows what benefits can accumulate to if you continue working here. It's really designed to show people what will happen if they stick around."

But Hallmark doesn't agree with spoon feeding benefits to employees. They are, after all, partners of sorts in the company. Reflecting this is the selfservice approach to many Hallmark programs. For instance, rather than just setting up 401(k)s all around, Hallmark encourages financial goal setting through a savings and retirement planner. The planner is designed for easy use on a personal computer-employees enter such stats as their date of birth and date of hire at Hallmark, their annual pay and profit-sharing balances as well as projected future pay growth and contributions to the Thrift and Supplemental Thrift Plans (these are means by which Hallmarkers can save from 1% to 5% of their earnings before or after tax, with Hallmark matching 20% of the amount saved-an impressive benefit in and of itself). The planner then helps employees project their future retirement income and decide how much to begin saving for retirement.

Also available to employees is Hallmark's Life Event Planner, which takes key events in people's lives-such as marriages, births, buying a house-and demonstrates how Hallmark benefits interrelate. For instance, an employee looking under "Caring for Parents as They Age" will find information on using Hallmark's Dependent Care FlexPlan to pay day-care expenses for an elderly parent. …

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