Developing a Culture-Centric Workplace to Retain and Engage Employees

Brittany Hink

On average employees stay 4.6 years at a single company according to the United States Department of Labor. That average continues to shrink. "Job hopping" has become the new norm and employers are constantly looking for ways to attract new employees as well as retain current employees. A bigger salary isn’t always the main reason for employees to shift jobs and many individuals now have a list of must-haves when hunting for their perfect job. That list often includes an excellent company culture with numerous "bonus" benefits and companies are advertising those benefits that are included when you sign the dotted line. That "list" of company benefits and perks can include everything from a free gym memberships to unlimited PTO days and even bring-your-pet to the office days, every day.
The bonus benefits list is becoming more important to job seekers and is now being highlighted on career pages and company social networks. While extra perks have always been at the top of any job seekers mind during their job hunt, many now deem them as a necessity when making a career move or transition.
Vision, values, beliefs, learning, leadership, and people shape a company’s culture. Culture isn’t something that you can change overnight. It’s been said that if you do not design your company culture, your employees will. If a company doesn’t design a culture that the company is proud of, business outcomes might not meet the expectations that were set. Many factors go into an organization's culture including how employees act while on the job, how leadership handles situations, and how outsiders view the organization. There are simple and small changes that organizations can make to design a company culture.
Here are some of the most popular benefits that organizations are implementing to ensure a strong company culture:
  • Relaxation stations: Tired of sitting in a cubical where you can’t concentrate? Are you in an office that is shut off from the world? Do you get more work done when you are relaxing and comfortable at home? The answer is "yes" more often than "no." Many organizations are taking it upon themselves to add relaxation stations throughout office buildings. Adding comfortable seating in a relaxing environment that gives employees a more comfortable place to get work done in a place they enjoy. Organizations are adding several of these stations throughout office buildings to use for numerous different office-related scenarios. Some have taken the liberty of having a room that blocks out all wireless and internet connections to allow for a more focused approach to meetings and/or significant assignments. Others use them for informal meetings. Relaxation stations have allowed for more flexible workstations throughout many organizations and are simple additions that many job seekers are looking for.
  • Continuous learning: Employees want to learn. If teams receive constant learning and development tools and trainings to help develop their skills, they feel more appreciated, respected, and needed. Giving employees the tools needed to grow individually and as a team boosts morale and company-wide energy. As an outsider looking in, you can see the organizations energy and the culture that follows when employees are given the chance to develop skills individually. Current and potential employees want the availability to learn and they are looking for ways to mature their career skills.
  • Employee health: Health is important to everyone. Health benefits are not always just about healthcare. With the increase of company provided wearables, many individuals are taking the extra steps to live a healthy lifestyle. More business centers are now flaunting elite onsite gyms that can be used 24-7. Others are collaborating with local gyms to provide memberships for every employee to have the ultimate gym experiences. Many organizations have added onsite cafeterias with healthier food choices for employees to enjoy during lunch and afternoon snacks to make healthier eating easier. Companies are recognizing the importance of healthy employees and they are taking the initiatives to give each employee the necessary opportunities to live that healthy lifestyle.
  • Company outings: Corporations are signing up employees for 5ks, hosting quarterly parties or picnics, and even attending local sporting events for company outings. Many managers will have team building activities to bring their teams closer together. The rise of ropes-course trainings for organizational team building has skyrocketed over the past decade and more companies are taking to the courses for a unique team building exercise. Employees are looking for an organizational culture that promotes team building and company outings as a normal tool for success. Many suggest that having an external activity other than your traditional holiday party is a great way to get employees more involved and excited about coming to work.
  • Giving back: High salaries and superb healthcare benefits are no longer top priorities for employees. Now, people are looking for an organization that gives back to the community and an organization that supports working for the greater good. That can be organizational-wide support for local, national and global charities or a percentage of proceeds from company products that are donated for a cause. The rise of organizational partnerships with nonprofit and charities has drastically grown over the corporate lifespan and many job seekers are only interested in organizations that give back. They want to feel part of something more. Working for an organization that constantly gives back and donates is high on the list for job seekers.
  • Flexible hours and locations: The buzz continues around the future of the 9 to 5 job. As generations Y & Z continue to flood the workforce, many are looking for a flexible work schedule- in a flexible location. Corporate leaders have been toying with the idea of flexible locations for many years and now potential employees are making that idea a reality. Many Fortune 1000 organizations have started exploring remote employees, giving many employees the ability to work from home, the local coffee shop, or in those "relaxation stations." Working 8-hour days 5 days a week is no longer the normal workweek. Individuals will look for a company that a can provide them with the ability to work from anywhere at any time and a culture that appreciates those employees.
Company culture will continue to top the list for potential employees for years to come. As the lists for top places to work, best company culture and high employee engagement continues to grow; these lists become a huge source for individuals searching for their next career move. There are small adjustments that organizations can make in order to increase employee engagement and to boost company culture. Retaining current employees is always a challenge and getting individuals more involved in areas they are passionate about is a great way to build engagement across the entire corporation. The workplace will progress and evolve as the younger generations pursue the corporate workforce. Keeping up with the times will mean letting go of some traditional office environments and opting for a more culture-centric workplace.