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Apparently, employees at Google were up in arms when the costs of their day care program went up substantially. This and other cases of how sensitive an issue like employee perquisites can be is presented so well in a recent article in Knowledge@Wharton titled “ Don’t Touch My Perks“. I would strongly recommend that everyone dealing with employee perks – their design or management- reads this article.

I would like to share 3 observations on the issue or perks:

  1. Comp. and Benefits needs so much planning as it is very easy to introduce something. Very difficult to change it later-if circumstances force you to make changes. Introducing a perk when it is applicable to only a few people is one thing. Having to extend this to many others as the organisation grows has very different ramifications.
  2. Often perks introduced to give you short term gains tend to backfire. In one organisation, there happened to be a few excess cars available at one point in time. Instead of selling these off, the company gave the-in a typically short sighted for-a quick-gain kind of decision to executives of a particular category, to make their terms more attractive. In due course of time, this precedent became a big headache to manage as more people got to this grade.
  3. It is wiser to put a monetary value to a perk rather than leave it as a quantification. For example “Fuel of $ xyz” rather than ” xyz gallons of fuel”. This keeps the costs under control as the gas prices increase as they will over time.

Last but not the least: Everyone has strong views about perks. Many feel that they are a relic of history and should be abolished- as long as ithey apply to the other guy. When it comes to our case, we believe these are essentials.

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This is Post No: 270 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.

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