Pay and Perks: Google Versus Health Care

A Comparison of Compensation Packages

According to Cable News Network’s (2012a, 2012b) annual Fortune Magazine 100 Best Companies to Work For, Google sets the standard for employer-provided compensation and fringe benefits. This paper will discuss, compare, and contrast the differences between some of the more interesting and innovative employee benefits offered by Fortune Magazine’s best company to work for, Google, and Southern Ohio Medical Center, Fortune Magazine’s leading health care organization, according to the same list.

The Importance of Investing in the Employee

Fallon and McConnell (2007) clearly demonstrate that employers must be current and competitive with respect to compensation in order to attract and maintain a competent and able workforce. The need for each level of competency and ability differs from employer to employer, and even between industries, which provides employers the flexibility to match compensation levels with the level of talent required. Employers merely requiring entry-level, unskilled talent will more than likely provide less total compensation than those employers who wish to be cutting-edge and innovative, requiring a pool of innovating and proven leaders in their field.

Employees who are more comfortable and accepted in the workplace tend to be more productive, especially when assured that outside influences, such as illnesses, childcare issues, and, according to Google’s Executive Chairman, laundry, are mitigated (Fallon & McConnell, 2007; Google, n.d. a). Employees, however, have different needs, and employers need to stay mindful as these needs change by offering a comprehensive array of flexible benefits at a cost conducive to use (Fallon & McConnell, 2007). Many organizations fail to consider this and end up wasting valuable resources on less than attractive benefits.


Google, a relatively young company that was incorporated in 1998, has pushed the boundaries of technology, but the company has always maintained the philosophy of focusing on a single thing and doing it well (Google, n.d. b, n.d. c). Striving for technological excellence, to Google, means striving to attract the most innovative workforce (Google, n.d. a). To this end, Google offers a compensation package that no other can rival.

According to their website, Google (n.d. a) provides a host of benefits, including the typical health, dental, and vision insurance plans, sick days, vacation days, and a very attractive commitment towards each employees retirement, but they also offer atypical fringe benefits, such as gift matching employee donations, adoption assistance, financial planning, and an on-site physician, among others. Free gourmet meals and snacks as well as on-site oil change and car wash services, bike repair, fitness classes, gym, massage therapy, hair stylist, and dry cleaning top off the total compensation package offered to Google employees.

It is no wonder that Google heads the list of best employers, but how can a typical health care organization stack up against the world’s leading search engine provider (Cable News Network, 2012a, 2012b)?

Southern Ohio Medical Center

Southern Ohio Medical Center (2010a) is a 222-bed hospital located in Portsmouth, Ohio, and employs 2,200 people in addition to 140 physicians and specialists. Southern Ohio Medical Center is a more typical example of a large employer, and it might even be unfair to compare and contrast benefit packages with such an atypical company as Google, but I will do so, anyway.

According to Fortune Magazine (Cable New Network, 2012c), Southern Ohio Medical Center has cultivated a culture of teamwork and compassion that permeate the ranks, and this intangible characteristic helps to make this hospital one of the leading employers in the country.

Working for Southern Ohio Medical Center entitles employees to a comprehensive array of benefits. Though not as comprehensive as Google, Southern Ohio Medical Center employees to enjoy the typical health, dental, and vision insurance plans, sick days, vacation days, and an attractive retirement plan (Southern Ohio Medical Center, 2010b). Southern Ohio Medical Center (2010b) also offers atypical fringe benefits, such as sick child care, pet health insurance, a wellness program, and a number of discount programs for employees to enjoy.

According to Fortune Magazine (Cable News Network, 2012c), Southern Ohio Medical Center enjoys excellent growth with controlled turnover. The compensation package offered to this hospital’s employees reflects the simply stated cardinal value of the hospital: “We honor the dignity and worth of each person” (Southern Ohio Medical Center, 2010a, para. 7). It would seem that this could be the reason that Southern Ohio Medical Center maintains the #36 spot on Fortune Magazine’s (Cable News Network, 2012a) list of best employers of 2012.


As stated above, it is almost unfair to compare and contrast these two very different organizations; however, both organizations seem to share some core values that promote the integrity and innovation within their cultures necessary to succeed in their vision. This is emphatically apparent as both organizations hold respectable rankings as Fortune Magazine’s (Cable News Network, 2012a) best employers.

As a prospective employee, I certainly realize the importance of most of the benefits offered by both organizations, especially health and retirement programs, and the atypical fringe benefits offered by both seem to convey a sense of investment in the employee, which helps to shape each organization’s culture. By investing in each employee and cultivating the organizational culture, the financial implication, it would seem, would benefit the organization as a whole, allowing for positive growth and innovation, especially within a health care organization.

This paper should clearly demonstrate the sometimes not-so-obvious link between an organization’s value statement, the actual values of the organization, the leverage of these values on the employee, and the result towards achieving the organization’s goals. Compensation packages appear to have direct correlation between organizational values and the organizational value placed on the individual employee. As such, human resource managers, when preparing or analyzing compensation packages, should first look to the organization’s value statement to guide and inspire them to continue to promote the value of the employee.


Cable News Network. (2012a, February 6). 100 best companies to work for. Fortune Magazine. Retrieved from

Cable News Network. (2012b, February 6). Google – best companies to work for 2012. Fortune Magazine. Retrieved from fortune/best-companies/2012/snapshots/36.html

Cable News Network. (2012c, February 6). Southern Ohio Medical Center – best companies to work for 2012. Fortune Magazine. Retrieved from fortune/best-companies/2012/snapshots/36.html

Fallon, L. F. & McConnell, C. R. (2007). Human resource management in health care: principles and practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Google. (n.d. a). Benefits. Retrieved from

Google. (n.d. b). Google history. Retrieved from history.html

Google (n.d. c). Our philosophy. Retrieved from tenthings.html

Southern Ohio Medical Center. (2010a). About SOMC. Retrieved from about/

Southern Ohio Medical Center. (2010b). Employee benefits. Retrieved from