Before the frenzied dot-com boom would make employees come to expect perks like in-office massages and foosball tables, some old-economy stalwarts—including EDS, the Plano, Texas–based infotech company founded by Ross Perot—offered old-style rewards to keep their staffers happy.

“To replace workers’ ‘us versus them’ attitude toward bosses with a spirit of ‘we,’ motivation­al incentives that used to be reserved mainly for managers and executives are being pushed far down inside the company. At Electronic Data Systems, managers are encouraged to get to know their employees’ tastes, hobbies and interests so deserving staff members can be rewarded with appropriat­e incentives: tickets to a sports event, say, or the opera, or a dinner for the family at a fancy restaurant. Molly Edwards, EDS’s manager of recognitio­n services, says one employee in Dallas was even given a washer and dryer for a particular­ly good performanc­e. Another employee in Michigan returned from vacation to find that her kitchen had been completely remodeled.”

—“When Money Isn’t Enough,” November 18, 1996

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