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Going Beyond Perks to Help Employees Love Their Jobs

Now that the recession is over and employees have more job mobility, they are  pressuring employers to offer more competitive benefits. It's increasingly common for companies to provide more flexible work schedules and work from home policies. Plenty of employers offer discounted gym memberships, subsidized transportation costs and free food in an attempt to keep their best employees. Some even allow staff members to bring their dogs to work or have generous paid time off policies. However, perks aren't the only thing that keep employees engaged in the long run. 

Why Aren't Perks Enough?
The competition for the best candidates is so tight that most employers offer extensive benefits in pursuit of the most skilled new hires. While perks used to give employers an advantage in their recruitment efforts, the competitive differentiation has mostly eroded. Startups may not be able to afford to provide the same benefits as larger businesses, but it may not be the most important factor when potential new hires are deciding to accept a job offer. 

Of course, benefits are still important. But, when hiring managers focus too much on the perks, it can send a warning signal to interviewees that the employer is trying to compensate for something. It may come down to which aspects of the company interviewers choose to emphasize. Forbes pointed out some signs that your company may have a culture problem, and unfortunately, no amount of free food can fix it. For example, some employers brag about having a Ping-Pong table, which they believe signifies they have a fun culture. When new hires accept a job offer, it probably isn't because of this feature. If something minor like a game room is the best perk, the benefits probably aren't good enough. 

Are benefits enough?Are benefits enough?

Obviously, interviewers need to get a sense of the candidate's qualifications, but if they really want to make a compelling pitch, they should talk about culture, not minor factors like games. Having a great culture can improve bottom line results, and it's more likely to help you retain your top performers than benefits alone. 

Why Is Culture More Important?
Everyone loves extra vacation time and endless coffee, but at the end of the day, employees have to exist in the work environment the company has created. If there are severe cultural problems, top performers will hand in their notice. Culture leaves a stronger, longer-lasting impression than superficial perks. In addition, a good culture makes employees more engaged and productive, meaning they are less likely to seek a new job. 

Consider what is most important to your employees. In many cases, it may be something that doesn't cost a great deal to offer, such as better work-life balance. When you know what's most important to your staff, you can ensure you're choosing the most relevant perks to discuss with recruits.

What Do Employees Look for in a Great Culture?
In highly competitive industries, like tech startups, everyone offers fun benefits. Culture is what will really stand out to potential new hires, and emphasizing your culture in interviews increases your chances of finding the right employees. Here are some ways to show current and prospective staff members that you care about them:

  • Focus on the future: One of the mistakes many companies make is emphasizing on where the business is headed. Organizations with a great culture focus on the importance of each individual. Providing professional development opportunities and asking employees about their career goals can help you implement a people operations mindset.
  • Ask staff for feedback: Allowing employees to express their opinions about issues that affect them shows your staff their perspectives matter. 
  • Thank employees: Sometimes the best benefit you can offer is recognition for a job well done. Saying thank you is a chance to recruit your staff all over again, according to HubSpot. Hard-working employees want to know they aren't being taken for granted. 
  • Bonding rituals: Scheduling activities for outside of work hours can enhance teamwork and help employees get to know each other away from the office. 
  • Schedule time without meetings or calls: Meetings can seriously harm productivity and leave employees feeling stressed out about their workloads. Make sure to give your team some free time to handle their work. This simple step can help your staff members feel more satisfied. 
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