It Pays to Do What It Takes to Keep Employees Happy


As if Google's sky-high stock price isn't enough to be envious about, consider some of its employee benefits: five weeks' paid time off after a year on the job, $8,000 in tuition reimbursement, an on-site swimming pool and a climbing wall.


These are the kinds of perks that sent Google to the top of Fortune's annual list of "100 best companies to work for" in its first year of eligibility. In addition, say the authors of the list, there is the boundless enthusiasm of its workers, who, according to this MarketWatch piece, may show up at the office in either pajamas or a tuxedo.


Though "fun" benefits aren't as popular now as they were before the dot-com bust, some companies do continue to offer them -- including such traditional firms as MBNA Financial, which gives employees free limo service on their wedding day, along with an extra week of vacation and $500 for the honeymoon.


Proponents say the result is a more motivated and less stressed workforce, at relatively little cost to the company. In fact, some morale boosters cost nothing. Consider the example of Network Appliance, which made Fortune's list last year: Its president calls 15-20 employees every week to personally thank them for their efforts.


Still tempted to dismiss the idea? Thanks to the current IT talent shortage, which looks like it will get worse before it gets better, a creative approach to attracting and retaining employees looks more like smart strategy than useless management fluff.