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From Google to Campbell's Soup, more perks for employees

Scooters sit in a hallway for use by employees for Google at the Internet company's office space inside historic Chelsea Market June 23, 2008 in New York City.

In these times of layoffs, reduced benefits and even cutting down on office size, some companies seem to be taking the opposite tack.

There are two schools of thought going on here, says Nancy Koehn of Harvard Business School.

"One is one that we've heard a lot about in the tech sector," says Koehn, "perks for scarce, often engineering talent as a way to recruit and keep them. But the second are companies that really put the employee at the top of their priorities as a way of building business and encouraging satisfied, advocating customers."

The perks we're talking about are those you hear about at tech companies -- free snacks and air hockey tables -- but also more serious options like a day care center at Campbell's Soup, or S.C. Johnson's concierge service and fitness center.

Koehn says there really is data to back up how successful this tack can be.

"If you look at some of the measures around this: employee productivity, turnover, engagement numbers -- those numbers are higher for those companies than for competitors in their respective classes," she adds. "This is all in great contrast to buy low, sell high, and eat your workers up to do that. These companies way out perform the Dow, the NASDAQ -- by 8 to 1 ratios in some cases."

We asked our Twitter followers today what their best #jobperk was. Add your own -- tweet us @marketplaceAPM.


About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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