Show Employees Love and Out Perform the Dow: Consider Employee Perks

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on September 09, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Face it, you got a bit spoiled at BigLaw. Between the sporting events, summer lunches and weekly free booze happy hour, you got accustomed to the finer things in life. Now, you're in-house counsel -- you've switched columns. You were once a rainmaker and now you're an expense on the balance sheet. But does that mean that you, and the rest of the company should suffer? No way.

According to Nancy Koehn, Harvard business professor, employee perks do matter. She splits companies that offer perks into two camps: those wanting to retain scarce talent, and those that realize that making employees a top priority is a way to grow business.

The results are real. As Koehn stated in an interview with Kai Ryssdal on NPR's Marketplace:

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.... 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.

Forbes put together a great slide show of some of the best employee perks around. They basically revolve around three central ideas: saving employees' time, giving employees peace of mind, and refreshments. Here are some examples ...

Perks That Save Employees Time

The theory is, if you save employees time and make services more accessible, they will be less stressed and more focused on work:

  • On-site gym, or other physical activities
  • On-site hair salon
  • On-site laundry and dry cleaning
  • Concierge desk -- runs personal errands
  • Home cleaning service
  • On-site healthcare

Perks That Are Pick-Me-Ups

These perks are meant to de-stress employees by giving them a moment of zen:


Who doesn't like free food or libations? We're personally big fans of @FindLawLP's "Bagel and Fruit Fridays."

Sometimes it takes so little to boost morale. Consider making changes at your company. Maybe you start in the legal department and outperform the other teams. Once proven, do it on a grander scale. Your company can bring a bit of sunshine to its employees, boost productivity and profits all because of the "shiny, happy people."

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