With Google’s vast amount of resources there’s no surprise that they have a extensive list of employee benefits such as, free haircuts, gourmet food, on-site doctors and high tech “cleansing” toilets. Those are just the most talked about, there are plenty more benefits that are not as highly known. That aside, a rare interview with Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock I discovered that the latest benefit for Google employee’s will extend beyond their death and ultimately benefit the families for years and years to come.
“This might sound ridiculous,” Bock told Forbes on the topic of employee benefits at Google, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.” Honestly, at first I thought this was more of a publicity move, but upon reading other various articles and comments from Google on the matter, it’s more of a generosity and a way to help the families as they struggle through the deaths of their spouses and such.
Bock had said that in the case of a U.S employee of Google pass away while under Google’s employment of the 14-year old search engine, their spouse or domestic partner will be receiving a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade of time. I’m not sure if they get a monthly check from Google that will finally add up to 50% of their salary or if it’s just a yearly check they’ll receive. What blew me away is that there is no requirement for said benefit. That means that all 34 thousand Google employee’s qualify for this benefit.
“One of the things we realized recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners,” Bock continued to tell Forbes. “And it’s a horrible, difficult time no matter what, and every time we went through this as a company we tried to find ways to help the surviving spouse of the Googler who’d passed away.” It’s pretty awesome to see that a company has been reaching out to families even before the benefit was fully implemented in 2011.
What’s cool is that along with the decade-long package, the surviving spouses will be seeing all stocks vested (protected) immediately and any children of said family will received a $1,000 monthly payment from Google until they each the age of 19, or if the child is a full-time student, that age will be increase to 23.
Google is, as most would expect, far from having financial issues so this won’t take a toll on them whatsoever. In fact, their generosity could even potentially bring them in more revenue. Sure, it’s a pretty generous offer from Google but Google also aims to make sure employee’s on their various campuses are happy, fueled with creativity and productivity Google sees those as a win-win situation on both sides (the employee and the company), but the death benefits is no win-win situation for the massive company. “Obviously there’s no benefit to Google,” Bock concedes. “But it’s important to the company to help our families through this horrific if inevitable life event.”
Unlike a lot of companies, Google anticipates major life events of their employee’s since the day of hire. According to Laszlo Bock, Sergey Brin, started it all when Google had fewer than 100 employee’s. He had suggested that Google could or should provide a nanny to each working mom or dad on their staff. Obviously that’s a bit of a stretch at this point with their 34,000 employee’s. I think that eventually, the U.S might run out of nanny’s. That said, Google does have on-site child care, but has raised its monthly fees for that service significantly over the years. Which is understandable, if all 34,000 had a child, that would be a nightmare of a situation to handle.
What’s really cool and will somewhat take stress off of new parents is their maternity and paternity leave. According to a Google spokesperson, new dads will enjoy around six weeks of paid leave while moms will be able to take off 18 weeks after the birth of a child. In the case of a new child, stocks will continue to vest during your leave.
“When we think about [employee] needs at Google, we think less about how old you are that we do about your particular cluster of needs,” Bock says. “For someone who fits a certain profile—say, an aging parent to take care of, or kids or grandkids to support–whatever your cluster of needs are, we do our best to discern the best package of perks and programs to meet them.”
Google almost always gets a lot of press for its various benefits, Bock has said, but he’s very cautious to even use that word. “People say ‘you’re Google, of course you can offer these crazy things,’” but from where Bock sits, it seems as if they don’t even care about the money.“There is, of course, research that show employee benefit programs like ours can improve retention, and appear to improve performance on some level,” he says.
“But it turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. When it comes down to it, it’s better to work for a company who cares about you than a company who doesn’t. And from a company standpoint, that makes it better to care than not to care.”
Three cheers for Google anyone? I wonder if they’re hiring anyone just for fantastic ideas. I’ve got a lot to share and I’m sure their worth some sort of money!