Happy stomachs make for happy workers, a US survey says. Photo: Shutterstock

Wednesday 9th December 2015

HR World: 'Snacking'

US special: Feeding employees, Disney's curious intern and how fathers of daughters make kinder CEOs

worldThe way to workers’ hearts? Through their stomachs

Whether it’s a pet, a child or a partner, there’s an age-old way of getting someone to love you (or at least to like you): give them food.

Now, there’s evidence that the same rule applies to employees too. Happiness levels among workers that receive free snacks in the office are higher than those who have to buy their own, according to a survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of online grocer Peapod.

The survey, reported by PR Newswire, found that 66 per cent of those whose office kitchens were well stocked with food were extremely or very happy with their current job.

And surprisingly it’s not necessarily cream cakes that are most likely to get people’s juices flowing – 83 per cent of employees agreed that the provision of healthy options, such as fruit and yoghurt, was a huge perk.

Free food is a particular incentive for younger workers. When applying for a new job, millennials were nearly three times as likely to value the availability of office snacks than those aged 45 or older, the survey found.

But while more than half (55 per cent) of US employers provide free drinks such as tea or coffee, only 16 per cent provide food.

Disney recruits counter-terrorism intern

The Walt Disney Company, California, is looking to hire an intern. Essential qualifications include writing and research skills, an interest in international relations, a sense of teamwork and effective use of Microsoft Office.

Oh, and the ability to identify and analyse terror threats.

According to i100, Disney did advertise the position of Global Intelligence Analyst Intern on its website and job-hunting portals last month.

Starting in spring 2016, the chosen intern would work in the Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis department of the company’s Burbank headquarters, composing intelligence briefs, researching threat assessments and exploring options to counter “both existing and future threats or emerging technology.”

Disney’s intern site this week

According to Newsweek, the listing was eventually removed from the website, though a Disney spokeswoman would not confirm if this was because the position had been filled, or because the role had been retracted or changed.

While the discovery that “the Happiest Place on Earth” has an established counter-terrorism unit might burst bubbles, it’s hardly surprising given the very real threat of terrorist attacks worldwide.

That an intern would be entrusted with such duties is arguably a more valid reason for raising eyebrows.

CEOs with daughters make nicer bosses, claims US study

Want to work for someone who cares not only about their staff but also about wider society? Then it’s worth finding out if they have a daughter, say American researchers.

CEOs with daughters spend 13 per cent more of their net profits on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives than those who do not, according to a study published by the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

On average, firms led by parents with daughters (both mothers and fathers) spend nearly $60m a year more on CSR than those who do not have daughters.

And if that weren’t enough, they’re also much nicer to employees and more connected to the impact of their business on society.

Having a son does not have the same effect on a CEO’s mindset and spending habits.

The study also concluded that:

  • Male CEOs with daughters are 31.8 per cent more likely to make CSR decisions similar to those made by female CEOs
  • Companies that change from a CEO with a daughter to one without a daughter see a 9.4 per cent decrease in CSR initiatives
  • Hiring a CEO with a daughter leads to an increase in CSR initiatives
  • Companies with a good CSR record are more likely to hire CEOs with daughters

The CSR issues most affected by the trend have to do with diversity, researchers found. They include the provision of childcare and flexitime, reluctance to lay off staff and willingness to share profits with employees, as well as how women, minorities and the disabled are treated.

The study looked at decisions made by CEOs at nearly 400 of the largest publicly traded US companies. Just below 4 per cent of the CEOs were women.

About the author

Rhianon Howells

The former editor of a leading trade magazine, Rhianon Howells has extensive experience of writing for both business and consumer titles, including The Guardian. In addition to writing about HR, she specialises in health, fitness, leisure and hospitality.