Explain how Genentech and Zappos use employee benefits as a motivating tool?

Imagine working in an organization where employee morale is low, turnover is high, and the costs of hiring are astronomical.

If that were the case, you’d imagine the employer would go to great lengths to find, attract, and retain quality employees. Couple this goal with the reality of the economic picture—you simply cannot afford to provide expensive benefits for employees who may leave you for a different employer offering an extra $1,000 in salary or benefits. Knowing that 41 percent of all employees have no loyalty to their employers and will move on if a better offer comes adds to the dilemma. These issues clearly are a concern for organizations like Genentech or Zappos. But they don’t fret over them. That’s because they have found that treating employees with respect, and giving them such things as bonuses, rewards for longevity, onsite child care, lunches, and sending employees home with prepared dinners really works. Genentech is a California company that “develops and produces drugs that cure diseases,” according to the company website. The company celebrated its thirteenth year on Fortune’s “Best Places to work” list in 2011, also receiving “Best Places to Work” honors from Working Mother, LGBT Equality, and Computerworld. The reasons for this recognition are the important work that they do and the strong company culture that values equality and communication. Any discussion of how great it is to work at Genentech always circles back to the benefits that show a real respect for employees. In addition to traditional benefits like retirement and healthcare, they provide family-friendly perks such as unlimited sick leave, personal concierge service, flexible work scheduling, childcare, nursing mother’s rooms, onsite nurses, adoption assistance, and company sponsored family events. The list of innovative benefits goes on to include unusual benefits like pet insurance, free snacks, and paid six week sabbaticals every six years! Zappos, the online shoe retailer, offers perks that match their fun-loving culture like pajama parties, nap rooms, regular happy hours, and a full-time life coach. Have these benefits worked for Genentech and Zappos? If you translate longevity to morale and loyalty, you’d say they have. Both boast low turnover rates and high employee ratings for workplace satisfaction.

Questions:

1. Describe the importance of employee benefits as a strategic component of fulfilling the goals of HRM at Genentech and Zappos?

2. Explain how Genentech and Zappos use employee benefits as a motivating tool?

3. Do you believe the incentive benefits such as those offered at Genentech and Zappos can be used in other organizations? Why or why not?

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