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Meaningful Benefits and Authentic Culture is the new Corporate "Cool".

Companies looking to retain top talent can no longer rest on the laurels of a culture defined by Employee Happy Hours and office Ping Pong tournaments. To attract the best of the best and keep them, corporations must embrace the foundational change in the way millennials and gen z approach the concept of work and career.

An article in Fast Company reports: "A new LinkedIn survey of over 3,000 full-time U.S. workers confirms what many of us have suspected for years: Those funky perks employers tout as supposed emblems of a great work culture are actually empty totems that employees don’t really care about."

“One of the top factors most likely to keep professionals at their company for 5+ years,” LinkedIn researchers write in a summary of the findings shared this morning with Fast Company, “is having strong workplace benefits such as PTO, parental leave, and health insurance (44%).

In comparison, the least enticing factor for keeping professionals at their current companies is having in-office perks such as food, game rooms, and gyms (19%).

Professionals of today have integrated personal and professional life. They live by one set of core values and ambitions, whether in the office or out. Community and collaboration are replacing competition and self promotion. With that understanding, what does it take to create a work culture that not only cultivates community but provides a meaningful culture for workers to thrive? The answer is by changing the WAY people work in two ways: physical environment and corporate culture.

Physical Environment:

Co-working companies, such as Convene and Knotell, have been leading the charge on change by providing flexible workplace solutions that speak to the needs and wants of those inhabiting it. By creating physical space that supports creative thought, collaboration and community companies are able to "meet their employees where they're at" and where they are set up for success.

Corporate Culture:

Supporting and caring for employees as people, rather than workers, is the basis for creating a culture that not only attracts the best and the brightest, but makes them even better.

In this day and age, workplace benefits such as PTO, parental leave and health insurance are basic employee rights. Companies cannot compete in the marketplace without them. To retain talent and truly set their employees up for success, employers must take benefits and culture to the next level. There are 3 key areas of opportunity for companies to focus: Being Purpose Driven, Education & Development and Health & Wellness.

Being Purpose Driven: According to a PwC study, "millennials who have a strong connection to the purpose of their organization are 5.3 times more likely to stay." Global purpose is a key component to a successful corporate culture. This generation of employees want to work somewhere that actively supports their values: both as a professional and globally responsible citizen of the world. To answer this call, companies are partnering with philanthropies to engage employees and create a shared higher purpose.

"Purpose beyond profits is being demanded from all corners including employees, investors, and the millennials and Gen Z who represent the next generation of leaders, so it’s not a surprise that business leaders are taking note."-Fobes

Education & Development: From tuition reimbursements to trainings and workshops companies are utilizing traditional and non-traditional forms of education to increase employee engagement, advance leadership skills, and improve employee retention. The Institute of Coaching cites that over 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. Companies who support employee education and development reinforce their commitment to an employee's success long term. As a result, employees are more likely to grow with their company and look for opportunities to advance from within.

"Dropbox employees benefit from a collaborative environment with plenty of opportunities to grow. A fan favorite is Hack Week, which allows everyone to return to their roots by poking around code or pursuing a professional interest. This freedom makes the problem-solving process seem less intimidating—and often generates inspired solutions that make the office (and employees!) even better."

Health & Wellness: Physical and mental health has become a hot button topic for millenials and gen z. Benefits such as paid parental leave, fertility coverage and mental health coverage are becoming standard and are no longer enough to show a company's commitment. To stay competitive in the market, companies are broadening their scope on health & wellness. Everything from Mothers' rooms to Meditation spaces are being built in record numbers. Companies such as Zappos, Facebook, and Asana provide specialized nap rooms for employees looking to catch some afternoon rest. On-demand healthcare partners such as Eden Health and Exubrancy offer in-office check ups, mental health sessions and massage therapy. On-demand apps such as Maven provide pre and post natal support.

As we move into a new decade, companies need to pivot quickly to stay competitive and keep up with the demand for authentic culture and meaningful benefits. The time has come to embrace the new meaning of "corporate cool".

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