A significant number of massive layoffs and The Great Resignation have employees rethinking what they’re looking for in their next role. It’s not surprising that many of them will be looking at and assessing the company culture of any job they might be considering. Current employees also need to have their company culture expectations met or they will soon seek greener pastures.
Since a toxic work culture is an often-cited reason for employees leaving their organization, a company culture in which employees believe they will thrive is high on their list of priorities. But company culture is made up of many different elements, so which ones do employees value most?
What components of company culture matter most to employees?
Building a company culture that helps to both attract and retain employees doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take often take years to get it right.
Here are some of the “must have” elements of company culture that employees today hold dearest.
Employees want to feel respected at work. They may have felt degraded in previous roles, and so they will no longer tolerate this type of treatment. Certain industries are known to be disrespectful of employees and these typically include those with more hourly workers. Companies engaged in consulting, tech and enterprise software are more likely to show higher degrees of respect than companies who employ frontline workers, such as restaurants, retail outlets and supermarkets.
- Supportive leadership
Employees hold leadership mainly responsible for corporate culture. After all, leadership is responsible for things like deciding who gets laid off, what benefits the company offers and who gets raises and promotions. They also set the tone for the organization. Are they welcoming or distant? Communicative or silent? Open- or closed-door? Friendly or standoffish? Supportive leaders listen. They encourage. They live and breathe the company’s mission and values. They walk their talk. Supportive leadership breeds a supportive culture.
Employees also look for diversity and authenticity in leadership. They want leaders who are relatable and empathetic. Leaders who listen as well as they speak. Leaders who are accessible and transparent. Leaders who definitely do not have egos.
Employees place a high value on being trusted and being able to trust their managers. A flexible workplace demonstrates a manager’s trust that the work will get done, whether employees are remote or work flexible hours. And because they feel trusted, employees will go out of their way to prove that trust is warranted and appreciated. Employees who are trusted are happier and more engaged because they feel like they are a valuable cog in the wheel.
Trustworthy managers also have a positive effect on culture, which is evidenced by low employee turnover, increased employee motivation to do a good job, and a generally happy workforce.
- Opportunities for career development
No employee wants to remain in the same role year after year, especially when they are performing well above average. Job candidates often look for companies that offer career development stipends to take courses that can help them either to move up in their present department or laterally to a different department to try something new.
Many employees also look for companies that provide coaching or mentorship opportunities, especially for younger employees who want to learn the ropes from someone who has already climbed them.
- Support for physical, mental and emotional health
The pandemic certainly did a number on employees’ overall health. Isolation, layoffs and overwork took a toll on many employees and burnout became prevalent in employees who couldn’t separate home life from office life.
Employees are looking for organizations that take a holistic approach to their well-being and that means:
- Encouraging the use of PTO to relax and refresh
- Working normal business hours, not expecting employees to be available 24/7
- Protecting LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination so they are supported at work, whether remote, in-office or hybrid
- Providing resources to help employees deal with emotional and mental health issues, such as an employee assistance program and health care with substantial mental health benefits
- Stipends for gym memberships and encouragement for employees to take walks to clear their heads
- A sense of community
Employees want to feel that they are part of a group that both celebrates the good times and sticks together to come up with solutions during the tough times. Celebrations may occur seasonally, such as holiday parties or summer fun days, or for promotions, a sizeable funding raise or greater-than-expected profits. Many companies have avoided layoffs by finding other ways to cut back on expenses, including CEOs not taking bonuses, hiring freezes, temporarily putting a hold on raises and promotions, and adding contractors to the employee mix.
When employees feel that they are “all in this together,” in good times and in bad, with leadership, management and their peers, they are apt to be more willing to do what it takes in the best interests of the entire company.
These are just a few characteristics of a culture of inclusiveness. There are other elements that are important as well, such as a company’s commitment to social causes, the establishment of employee resource groups, compensation and benefits, and equality. Master some of these essential components of a positive work culture, and you’ll have very little trouble hiring and retaining top talent.
If you’re on the hunt for top-quality employees, visit atwork.com/locations to speak to an expert recruiter in your area today!