The High Cost of Innovative Employee Benefits

by J. Foegen



Creativity has not been cornered by Madison Avenue or by the Research and Development laboratories. It also exists in industrial relations in the bargaining of employee benefits. The evolution of fringe shows much imagination as benefits adapt to ever changing situations. For employers, however, the more elaborate packages bargained have meant rising costs, which are not always offset by added productivity. As these cost increases continue, new ideas, and extensions of old ones, must be questioned more searchingly from a cost/benefit standpoint. It is true that some employers, faced in the past with demands that seemed outrageous at the time, have declared vigorously that meeting them could only mean bankruptcy for the company and mass job losses for the workers. But with relatively few exceptions, the demands were met, and surprisingly, the dire predictions often failed to materialize. Furthermore, in more than a few cases, business continued better than ever. But at present, nobody can be sure, at least not single employers and unions that the string of such successes has not run out. But everyone is for creativity in thinking up imaginative new benefits for employees and as elsewhere it is meaningful and desirable.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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