Human resource management has the sole aim of managing and coordinating an organization’s resources and workers. It oversees an organization’s leadership as well as culture and ensures compliance with the labor and employment laws. A human resource manager must be aware of what motivates the target employee market. The manager must understand that it is not the salary packages that keep workers motivated, but the extra perks that accompany these basic perks, the employee benefits. Employee benefits show to the employee how much the employer cares and appreciates the employees’ efforts. It is the combination of salaries and benefits that help keep employees happy and loyal to the company (Cornworth, 1998)
Retaining the best employees and attracting the most qualified and competent workers in the market, is the key to success of any organization. This is a basic goal of HRM. Having the best workers in your workforce improves the speed and efficiency of operations in the company. The satisfaction of employees derived from employee benefits vary according to such factors as age, the industry, family and social status. Aging employees thus want assurance about their post-employment life, and a retirement plan is mandatory. Employees with children would prefer a child benefit program. To avoid burnout, a paid vacation is vital, as a working day in day out would reduce productivity.
Health insurance is the most fundamental benefit. The scheme allows employees to visit a doctor whenever they fall ill. This saves the employee money, reduces the time the employee stays away from work and prevents the spread of the disease to other employees. Paid leave, such as paternity leave, allows sick employees to stay at home without risking their paychecks. Insurance premiums paid by employers on employees’ behalf are tax allowable and help at taxation time. All these benefits reduce employee turnover rate as they increase employee loyalty (Cornworth, 1998).
Zappos and Genentech are two companies which understand that keeping high employee morale is paramount in employee retention. Genentech, a Californian drug manufacturing company, has a culture that places communication and equality at the forefront. However, the way that the company appreciates its employees places it among the best work places in the world. Apart from the basic health and retirement schemes, the company has other highly innovative ways, to keep its employees happy.
For employees with families, sponsored family events and childcare programs are in place. The family events help to integrate families and their children together. This way Genentech employees view the company as a one large family. Onsite nurses are available to handle emergencies and small accidents. The company provides nursing mothers with nursing rooms. The company also appreciates barren families and assists them in adopting children. For the sick workers the company gives an extended sick leave. Genentech goes ahead to appreciate pet lovers by insuring the pets on their behalf. Free snacks, paid sabbaticals and personal concierge services are also in place.
Zappos, a shoe retailing company, on the other hand, maintain a fun loving organizational culture. The company realizes that a happy and joyful employee is highly productive. In line with this culture, pajama parties and regular happy hours are available. Astonishing is the fact that tired employees have a chance to sleep at work, by providing nap rooms. This increases the productivity of the employees. Both Genentech and Zappos reward long serving employees and sometimes provide takeaway dinners for their employees. It is evident that both companies go to considerable length to ensure their employees are happy.
The benefits that Zappos and Genentech offer take a substantial amount of the company’s resources. With the prevailing tough economic conditions, most companies are finding it hard to maintain its workforce. This is even harder when they have to keep the workforce happy. The above two companies look to be financially stable, and can afford all the benefits they offer their employees. Financially stridden companies, however, find it hard to be generous in providing benefits. Such companies can only provide the basic benefits such as health and retirement benefits.
Zappos maintain a fun loving culture, which points to the fact that the workforce must be a young one. Age determines the type of benefits a company offers. The benefits that Zappos offer would be hard to implement in a company with an aging workforce. Genentech, based on the family benefits it offers, appear to have a middle-aged workforce. Its benefits would be hard to implement in an organization with ageing or very young employees.
The nature of most companies in the world is such that the workforce comprises of all age groups, this would mean implementing some of the benefits of the study companies partially. This together with economic constraints hinders the implementation of the aforementioned benefits in these companies.