World Monitor Magazine WM_KIOGE 2018_Web - Page 60

additional content Workplace Perks: wasteful Indulgence or powerful profit driver? A study of firms in 43 countries finds that treating employees well pays off. Matt Palmquist, freelance business journalist, Oakland, Calif. Does it pay to have happy employees? Companies in the tech sector such as Google, Yahoo, Netflix, and Microsoft have historically led the way in showering employees with perks, ranging from free meals and generous vacation packages to on-site gyms and movie theaters. And now other industries are following suit. The Virgin Group implemented a paternity policy that gives dads up to 12 months of paid leave, for example, and firms in many countries have recently been experiment- ing with four-day workweeks and other flexible schedules. But still the fundamental debate rages: Do the presumed advantages in recruitment, retainment, and employee motivation that come from offering these perks show up in the bottom line? Or are they wasteful indulgences? A new study aims to settle the question by analyzing a huge data set on employee relations and company performance, covering almost 3,500 organizations in 43 countries from 2002 to 2014. The data came from Thomson Reuters’s ASSET4 database, which assesses several aspects of workplace culture. The sample consists mainly of large companies, with average total assets of US$4.7 billion, from a wide range of industries. The authors focused on five categories that, taken together, are meant to repres