Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

What’s more important, cool perks or a strong company culture? It’s no contest

5 ways to build a stronger corporate culture at your place of businessIf you’re looking to keep your employees engaged and highly motivated to achieve every day, you need to dangle some kind of “carrot” – an incentive that will give them a reason to work. But in HR circles these days, there’s a lot of debate about this topic. What’s the best incentive to give people? How can you really deliver what your employees demand?

This is a fundamental question in human capital management. Your company is doomed if it doesn’t have a productive workforce, and effective motivation is obviously a driving force. So what will you use?

In the past, many companies used cool perks to win their employees’ favor. Offer them free food, for instance, and they’re sure to stay dialed in. But there’s actually some new survey data indicating that that might not be the best strategy – Careerealism, a career advice and employment branding site, conducted a company culture survey among its 1 million monthly readers and found that many of them look for more than just perks when they’re getting on board with a new organization.

J.T. O’Donnell, founder and chief executive officer of Careerealism, says this may change the way companies look at employee engagement.

“Showing off your cool new office and smoothie bar are no longer the best way to attract top talent,” O’Donnell stated in a company release. “Today’s sophisticated job seeker knows a ‘snow job’ when they see one. Yes, the perks might get them to look at your company, but their next move is to get under the hood and kick the tires before they decide to apply.”

You might need to look into strategies that go deeper than simply handing out exciting perks.

The value of a company culture
The most important takeaway from the Careerealism survey is this – among the many respondents, 66 percent said that a strong company culture is more important to them than perks. Rather than simply be offered free stuff, people would prefer to work for an organization that has strong core beliefs and values. Building a culture might be more difficult than giving away stuff, but it’s also more rewarding for your organization in the long run.

The decline of perks
In the other corner, a mere 26 percent of the participants in Careerealism’s survey indicated that employee perks – such as flexible scheduling benefits, or a ping-pong table in the office, for example – were more important than culture. This might run counter to many leaders’ belief in the value of perks, but the reality is that other things need to play a greater role.

What’s the difference, anyway?
Here’s one last surprising detail – the final 8 percent of respondents in Careerealism’s poll didn’t vote in favor of perks or culture – because they said they couldn’t tell the difference. This is odd, as the two are entirely distinct from one another. If you have a lot of people in your office that don’t understand what a company culture is and why it’s important, now might be the right time to sit them down and educate them.

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