Death Benefits at Google

We have probably all heard of the perks that Google, Facebook and LinkedIn provide to their employees (see the perks). It goes without saying that most of these perks are targeted at increasing the height of the metaphorical exit barrier, improving productivity and sometimes even ensuring that employees spend as much time at the office as possible.

But yesterday, I read about a conversation, on, with Google Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock and realized that Google has one perk that is very very unsual (get ready for lots of !!) – If a Google employee dies while they were employed with Google, their Spouse gets 50% of their paycheck for the next 10 years!!! Also, their children get $1,000 per month till they turn 19! And finally, the employee’s stock options vest immediately! Not just that, there are NO tenure requirements – so most of Google’s 35,000 employees are eligible!

I mean I understand the free haircuts,subsidized massages, great food, gym, and so on but this is out of the world! Like I said above, a lot of these perks are targeted at increasing the ‘cache’ of working in the organization or changing the exit barriers, etc but this one stands out because there is really no direct or even tangential benefit to Google in providing this perk (if it can be called that). Arguably, the ‘cache’ argument works here but I am pretty sure nobody is thinking of their mortality before joining an organization.

I sometimes do meet people in India who only want to work with Indian Railways or Post Office but that is always for other reasons – stability, lots of holidays, little work and most importantly, those people can’t seem to get jobs in the private sector (I know I know – it sounds elitist, but true for at least the people I have met).

Before reading about this perk, I always saw perks as an extension of salary – something that an employee likes but also benefits the organization. After reading about this perk – I think Google might be one of the rare companies that actually cares about it’s employees.. and their families.

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2 Responses

  1. In a way it does benefit the organisation. Google as a company is innovation-based. Hiring and retaining good people is it’s main strength, so these small gestures can go a long way in retaining talent. Come to think of it, with a demigraphic of 25-odd year olds, how many Google employees are likely to die? We can come back and check the policies in ten years – this may no longer be applied then 🙂

    1. Agreed, but that’s the whole point – if a 25 year old is not thinking of dying – how much does it help in retaining talent? Probably easier to add a few more ping pong tables? BTW – Google demographic is no longer 25 year old – the oldest employee is 85!!! After all, Google has now been around for 14 years.

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