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The One Perk Top Talent Craves

Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesdays are swell, health insurance coverage and 401k plans are even better, but they alone will not retain your top talent. Employee retention can only be possible through one key perk: a great work culture. Everything else is the icing on the cake.

So what does this magical work culture look like? It depends on your organization. These days it’s based on respect, flexibility, meaningful work, and appropriate challenges. And keep in mind:

  1. Support from the top is critical. When employees feel their senior leaders care about and support their well-being, 9 in 10 are likely to recommend their company as a good place to work (versus 17% of those who don’t feel supported) and the number planning to leave their job in the next year is reduced by half (25% versus 51%).
  2. Money helps, but it’s not everything. New PayScale research suggests that while 25% of employees claim they left their last job for higher pay, 44% admit what attracted them to a new organization wasn’t the paycheck. They were drawn to the opportunity to do more meaningful work or to take on increased responsibilities.
  3. Flexibility is gold. Gallup consistently finds that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job. The sweet spot in this area extends beyond where they’re allowed to work. Employees are 43% less likely to experience burnout when they have more choice in what tasks to do, when to do them, and how much time to spend on them.
  4. A jerk-free environment is essential. “Once you’ve joined a company that looks great on the surface, you can still end up being miserable because the only factor that determines how happy you’ll be at your new job is your team — the people who manage you, the people you work with, interact with, collaborate with, and run into every day,” write Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, co-authors of  NINE LIES ABOUT WORK: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World.   

It’s not that traditional or even creative perks don’t matter—they can go far in attracting and keeping top talent. But company culture comes first. Without that solid framework, no amount of tacos will salvage your employee attrition rate.