Workplace Perks Don’t Create the Best Place to Work

In the year 2020, what does a great place to work at look like?

The answer to this isn’t ping pong tables, foosball, snack shelves or weekly free lunches. Sure, all of these can be great and many companies wouldn’t have the same identity without them. BUT.. these alone are not enough to create a great culture.

So why do companies confuse culture with perks?

When a workplace is toxic, many employers tend to turn to perks in an effort to build a healthier workplace. These benefits are also commonly used as an incentive to applicants. An organisation that I used to work for were very guilty of this – on their careers page of their website they have a section allocated for just listing their perks! Not only that but perks are also used as a tactic to keep employees motivated and productive.

However, what many of these perk orientated companies forget is that these benefits aren’t actually necessary for employees to enjoy their work and remain loyal to their organisation.

The first step to creating a workplace that everyone loves to be a part of is improving the culture, not the perks..

But what does workplace culture really mean?

Workplace culture is a term that is often loosely thrown around with mixed meanings. Although I like to describe it as the character and personality of your organisation. It’s a mixture of your company’s values, beliefs, leadership, behaviours and attitudes. As an employer taking the time to address each of these elements can play a very powerful role in your employees overall work satisfaction, relationships and progression.

To improve the culture of your workplace you need to create a framework that has employee engagement and satisfaction in mind. Modern employees yearn to work in an environment that has a strong sense of purpose and makes their job more enjoyable.

So after all that, if you’re currently offering your employees unique benefits such as snack shelves, but you’re still experiencing high turnover and your employees are unengaged and unproductive, chances are your workplace culture is unhealthy (potentially toxic!). If some of this applies to your organisation, now is the time to provide your workers with more meaningful offerings that will encourage long term benefits and a healthy workplace!

So what approach can be made to transform the culture of your workplace?

Even if we take a look at the super successful company of Google, it’s their approach to management and employees that is behind their high productivity levels, not the great perks offered that people often praise them for.

Let’s dig deeper and explore some of the things that Google is doing well at:

  • Strict hiring process

Don Dodge, a current Google employee explains and shows just how thorough Google is with each individual applicant. But what can you gain and learn from this type of hiring process? While it is necessary to hire a person with the right skill sets that align with your company culture, a thorough hiring process can also allow you to hire the right character with the right soft skills.

  • Communicates core values clearly

All you have to do is go to their webpage “Ten thing we know to be true” to find their core values clearly listed. When you have a clear understanding of your core values, your organisation can continue to hire people who share the same values or show eagerness to learn those values. This encourages only like-minded people to work at your organisation.

  • Open communication policy

Google has adopted a flat organisational structure, meaning that there are few to no levels of middle management. So all employees have the opportunity to lead and are encouraged to share their voice. Of course I understand that this structure may not be particularly great for your organisation, so instead ensure that you remain open to change, however that may be. Once your organisation becomes set in its ways, it is much harder to evolve down the line and does not offer room for improvement.

It is worth investing your time and energy in to improving your workplace culture to:

  • Attract and retain skilled staff
  • Drive employee engagement
  • Increase productivity
  • Create an environment for healthy development
  • Drive financial performance

Key TakeawayHaving perks as the backbone of your culture doesn’t work. Workplace culture originates from values, vision and mission.

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