Nap nooks. Game rooms. Beer cart Fridays (or Mondays, or Wednesdays, or anydays). While I’d be lying if I said these weren’t amazing perks of a cool office space, I can confidently say that if your company culture doesn’t keep up with the benefits you offer, you’re falling flat to potential candidates.
We know some of the trendiest and most enticing employers have amazing office spaces and even better perks. These can compel even the stuffiest of candidates to apply. What really sets them apart to talent, though, are the stories behind the people who fill those offices and why they’re doing what they do.
Beautiful campuses and shiny new offices may capture a candidate’s attention. But, the company culture is what will inevitably keep them. One without the other will leave an employee wanting more.
Picture this: you see a gorgeous sports car. It’s the one you’ve dreamed of. You finally get up the nerve and money to buy it. You make the purchase, only to discover that under the hood, it’s a mess. You’ll be quick to hand off the car to the next willing buyer, telling your friends about your experience all the while.
This is what happens when potential employees see your fresh office and benefits, but find out the culture inside doesn’t match up. You’re smart enough to figure out the remaining parallels here on your own. (Read more here on why you have to walk the walk and talk the talk to candidates.)
In order to be considered by your target candidates – the people who are qualified for your positions and aligned with your actual company culture (and not just the office perks)- you have to reveal your talent brand to them in accurate and compelling ways.
So, how do you recognize when your office offers more to potential candidates than your culture? And more importantly, how do you start revealing what your culture really is, so you can earn candidates who think your culture is as great as the office?
3 Signs Your Office Is Cooler Than Your Culture
1. You don’t have company stories – anywhere.
Pictures of office spaces and perks are great attention-getters. But, they say nothing about what you actually do as a company, why you do it, or the people who bring it to life. What these should really offer are a stellar complement to actual stories about your team, the leaders, or your values. If you’re not sharing stories about the things that set you apart as an employer, you’re just another office with a ping-pong table. Been there, done that.
Whether it’s in the form of third-party company features, social media posts, or company blogs, you need to start talking about the things that define your culture. This helps you reveal your brand to readers. If you don’t brand yourself, someone will do it for you. They’ll assume you don’t have anything interesting to share, are hiding something, or aren’t savvy enough to realize you need to do it. Since none of these are likely true, get storytelling! If you think just talking about your perks or office give candidates a clear enough idea about who you are… think again. There must be something more worthwhile to share, right? This brings me to my next point:
2. You’re afraid to let your employees chime in.
So, you’re proud of your game room (or, insert any cool office feature here). But, shouldn’t you be proud of your employees too? You need to give them a voice and empower them to share what they think about their experience as an employee. If your office is as cool as you think, encourage your employees to share what it means to them. You should trust your employees to give an accurate look inside the company. If you’re afraid to do so, you might need to spend less time cultivating your office space and more time cultivating your team and culture.
3. Employee referrals… What are those?
To make it simple: if you don’t receive any employee referrals for potential candidates, then even your sweet perks aren’t enticing enough on their own. Enter in: culture. Your best employees want to continue to work when they have great co-workers to h elp get the job done. When they love their job and the company, they will refer people to join them in working there who they feel will be a good fit for the culture.
If your culture isn’t one that employees feel is worth sharing (or they can’t – refer to #2), then you’re not getting any referrals for great talent and you’re going to be hard-pressed to keep your current staff happy. Are you seeing a pattern here? Great employees + great culture = More equally-great employees (and retention). So give your employees something to work with: a great culture and accurate, compelling stories to share about it.
If any of these things apply to you, there’s good news. Chances are, you probably have a great culture but you’re targeting people based on what your offices looks like inside instead of what it does inside. Focus on engaging the talent that best suits your culture, as opposed to blanketing all job seekers with enviable pictures and details of your perks. The most critical way to make sure your employees love your culture as much as your office is to start showcasing what makes it unique and compelling.This ensures that you can hire and retain employees that genuinely align with the values and purpose that actually make your cool office tick.
Don’t be afraid to show candidates who you are internally, and not just what you look like to outsiders. Tell candidates accurate and compelling stories about your purpose and the people who keep it moving. Trust me, if they’re only coming for the XBox and flextime, they won’t stick around when the work gets tough, for a team they’re not engaged with.
Invest in building relationships with people who are connected to your culture and appreciate your perks, instead of those who love the perks and just need a job. That’s who will help you develop and maintain a culture worthy of an awesome office. Besides, what good is a game room without a team that’s invested in one another and their work? A game of ping-pong and a cold beer are always best served with a successful culture.
Does your company have a great culture?
Photo credit: Shutterstock