Facebook’s offer of egg-freezing for female employees raises important questions about the role of employee benefits


As employee benefits go, offering to freeze the eggs of your female employees is about as out of the ordinary as it gets.


So it’s little wonder that Facebook and Apple’s offer to help with elective egg-freezing has generated reams of comment on whether this yet another new dimension of the dark, controlling world of the tech company world or something which might just be genuinely beneficial to female employees.

It’s pretty rare that employee benefits make the international headlines and, for me, the fact that people are thinking about the relationship between career, employee and employer is in my mind a good thing.

However, the interesting question which comes out of this isn’t just around the pros and cons of egg freezing. 

It is whether, away from the titans of the Silicon Valley tech scene among the organisations which make up the ‘normal’ business world, we are doing enough to do apply any sort of creativity or deep thinking about what we they can do to retain and support key employee groups in our organisations.

And, here, I think we have a real problem.

At a time when productivity is falling in the UK and we expect more engagement, effort and around the clock devotion from our people we haven’t seen any sort of revolution in the way companies think about what they can do to fix support them more effectively.

Equally, despite the acknowledged potential for employers to bring together technology, new working practices and creative benefits alongside their traditional benefits proposition to support employees in a targeted way, companies who do this are few and far between.

So if one dimension of the debate around egg-freezing is the suggestion that companies can go too far in the employee benefits they provide it is equally important to acknowledge the flip-side, that too many businesses do too little and very few wouldn’t benefit from changing this.

And despite the heat and light around the what happens in Silicon Valley, these businesses would do well to take notice.