Company culture is more than just a buzzword used to attract younger generations of employees to your workplace. Having a strong company culture is an integral part of retaining current employees and making new hires feel a sense of belonging within the company.
For many years, employers thought that creating a healthy company culture was as easy as setting up a ping pong table in the break room and catering lunch a few times a month. While both are fun perks to working for a business, company culture is about so much more. Company culture is about creating loyalty and engagement within your company. It’s about giving employees what they need to feel like a valued part of the company’s success. Company culture is about utilizing specific benefits to influence employee attitudes and encourage them to be advocates for your company.
Employee advocacy is the promotion of your company by your employees and staff members. An employee advocate is someone who:
- Raises positive awareness for the company’s brand through social media, word of mouth, and other digital or offline channels
- Encourages family and friends to try your company’s products and services and uses their expert knowledge of the company to be a credible spokesperson who is confident in their recommendations
- Represents the company with pride and helps to encourage other employees also take pride in their work and the company
In a study by Workforce 2020, 18 percent of survey respondents say that an outstanding corporate culture would increase their loyalty and advocacy for the company. Here are five of the top benefits you should be offering to create brand advocates and loyal employees. (Jackson, 2018)
5. Work-Life Balance and the Feeling of Family
The Business Insider says that the average person spends more than 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. Your employees are spending more time at work than they are in their own homes with their families. Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance shows that you’re an understanding employer. You want the best for your employees so that they remain healthy, productive, and happy. Showing interest in the things they care about adds to the feeling of family in the workplace. Employees who feel part of a family are more loyal and less likely to abandon the company when things get rough in their home life.
Encourage your employees to support each other and show your support for them. Learn about their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, and their personal goals. Then, use your role as an employer to support them in those things. Your employees will feel more connected to the company and appreciate your support. They will be more dedicated to the work they are doing within the company if employees feel like the things they do outside the workplace matter too.
4. Training and Education Opportunities
Just as fostering their goals outside of the workplace is an important part of building employee loyalty, so is fostering their education goals. A culture of continuous learning and professional development demonstrates to employees that you recognize them for their convictions. (Fraley & Schaefer, 2017) By providing learning and development opportunities, you can cultivate growth, a feeling of passion, and purpose for employees and the work they are doing. A quick survey of your employees might reveal that your employees have specific education goals but are in no position to quit their job to pursue higher education. This is especially true for workers in entry-level and trade positions.
Encouraging continuous learning through in-house programs can boost employee morale and give employees the training they need to advance their careers. There are several cloud-based, SaaS programs that offer training and quiz modules that encourage employees to engage in their work and challenge their skills. Having training employees increases productivity, increases proficiency, and reduces costs.
3. Career Development Opportunities
Cloud-based training programs can also be used to encourage cross-training and job shadowing within your organization. Employees wanting to advance within the company can find a sense of value, belonging, and in some cases, job security by participating in career development programs. However, you may have employees who are passionate about other facets of the company. You may even have employees who already bring an untapped set of skills to the workplace. Getting to know your employees for their educational background and career development goals is another way to create company loyalty and advocacy. Employees who are encouraged to exercise their unique skill sets and share their ideas develop feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. By offering employees the opportunity to explore career development and advancement opportunities helps them to know that you understand their professional goals and want to see them be successful in them.
Communication is the key to creating a workplace culture that is open about advancement opportunities and career goals. You must first invest time in learning about employee educational backgrounds, passions, and how they picture their dream job. Employees who feel like you are helping them achieve that dream are more likely to advocate for your company and speak highly of its values to their friends and family.
2. Higher Compensation and Benefits
Just because the modern employee is more appreciative of a work environment that fosters family life, education, and career advancement does not diminish the importance of appropriate compensation and benefits. You might think that offering things like work-life balance and education opportunities in themselves are top benefits, but for many, especially younger generation employees, those things are expectations. For younger workers, achieving financial independence is a huge factor in how long they stay with a company.
Did you know younger generations of worker are more likely to stay with a company that offers them compensation and benefits packages that enabled them to afford to purchase a home on a single income? Why is this important? Younger generations of employees value independence and having the confidence in themselves to make significant financial investments. They want to know they are financially sound before getting married or having children. Many have dreams of homeownership, but understand that even with two incomes it can be difficult to afford such a large purchase.
According to CNBC, nearly half of households headed by people 18 to 34 are rent-burdened, meaning that more than 30 percent of their paycheck goes to their landlord. (Nova, 2018) This is bad news for companies wanting to retain younger employees. Because so much of their income is going into affording a stable place to live, employees are fleeing their jobs to seek more competitive compensation packages and higher standards of living in low-cost areas.
On top of seeking self-sustaining incomes, workers want the freedom to choose how they invest their money. Younger workers are not much different from generations before them in that they value reliable retirement investment opportunities, health, and well-being benefits, and flexible work schedules that allow them to vacation, invest in their mental health and explore societal causes and passions.
1. Recognition and Rewards
So what’s the top way to boost employee engagement, strengthen your company culture, and boost employee loyalty? Incentives and recognition, of course!
An extensive Gallup research study proves that employees who receive regular recognition for their efforts contribute to the economic health of their organization. Employees who are recognized are more engaged and more likely to stay with the company. They feel a stronger bond to your organization’s mission, values, and purpose, making them more effective brand advocates.
Recognition and rewards have the power to turn your company into an outstanding workplace. Employees feel more respected, more valued, and like they are a crucial factor in the company’s success. This enhances their sense of loyalty and encourages them to speak out in support for the company to friends, family, and customers.
Every year, U.S. companies spend $11 billion on employee turnover. More than a quarter of employees feel unappreciated in the workplace. According to Globoforce, 90 percent of businesses see positive impacts of employee engagement, including employee advocacy, when they implement a value-based recognition strategy. (SHRM/Globoforce, 2015)
Your employees want more than just fun and games in the workplace. While offering things like ping pong tables and catered lunches are a nice perk, your employees want to feel appreciated and engaged. They are stronger advocates for your brand when you create a company culture that cares about and helps them reach their personal, professional, and financial goals. But, the icing on the cake is the feelings of appreciation they get from being recognized. These things have the power to enhance company culture and create employees who are advocates for your company.
Fraley, B., & Schaefer, M. (2017, February 21). Five Benefits of Continuing Education for Your Business. Retrieved from Inegrity Technology Solutions: https://blog.integrityts.com/the-benefits-of-continuing-education-for-your-organization
Jackson, D. (2018, May 7). What is Employee Advocacy & How Does it Really Work. Retrieved from Bambu: https://getbambu.com/blog/what-is-employee-advocacy/#whatisadvocacy
Nova, A. (2018, July 11). Here's Why Millions of Millennials are Not Homeowners. Retrieved from CNBC Personal Finance: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/09/these-are-the-reasons-why-millions-of-millennials-cant-buy-houses.html
SHRM/Globoforce. (2015). Employee Recognition Report. Southborough: SHRM/Globoforce.