staff attend boardroom meeting with gifts on the table

From Culture to Benefits, Here’s How to Retain Your Workforce

In a job-seekers landscape where employees are quitting by the masses for better opportunities, employers must acknowledge the realities of retention. While people may enjoy ping pong tables, video games, and kegs on tap in the short term, what the workforce really wants is far more nuanced and deliberate than these materialistic benefits.

In this article, we will explain the key factors that retain employees and attract top talent so employers can make their workplace the place they’ll want to be in the long term.

Read more: Positive Work Cultures are More Productive. Here’s How to Achieve Them

The impact of great company culture

Organizations spend hours upon hours trying to strategize employee retention and talent acquisition to optimize performance and operations within their corporate structure. Whether employers are mulling over cases of employee turnover through exit interviews or confidential staff surveys, what they’re really looking for are answers that speak to the overall company culture or lack thereof. The idea is if employers can determine why people leave, they are better equipped to tackle these challenges and create an environment – or company culture – that makes people want to stick around.

Great company culture isn’t about extended coffee breaks or vacation days; it’s about how employees feel about coming into the office (or logging in from home!). When an employee feels like a valued member of the team, that is a testament to the engaging, holistic company culture that fosters a sense of purpose, productivity, and content.

Read more: The Key Elements of Any Successful Organizational Culture

What doesn’t work

Whether the intentions are genuine or not, organizations often attempt to solve a toxic workplace or low workplace morale with benefits they deem worth staying for. However, while these benefits or perks might seem positive, in hindsight, they do not work to address the core issues within an organization and only leave employees frustrated at the lack of support and “band-aid” approach to answering their needs.

Some of these masked benefits include:

Frequent town halls – While these are absolutely a necessity, they should only be prioritized based on the necessity to share important information and get employee feedback and engagement. It is not productive to take time away from employees and place them in mandatory group meetings when there is no real purpose or benefit.

Ping pong table, foosball table, videogames – Entertainment in the workplace is a fun way to get employees engaged with each other and maximize their enjoyment of their breaks. However, if the environment in which they work is toxic, how far will a 30-minute game of ping pong take them?

Snacks and beer on tap – Food and beverage are a nice perk in the office. It saves people from having to prep at home and lets them unwind after a day in the office. But in a hybrid environment, is this really necessary? And in some particularly gruelling environments, these nourishments may be perceived as a means of encouraging staff to work overtime since they have refreshments in the office.

Awards – There are so many great ways to acknowledge the hard work of a dedicated employee, and a plaque isn’t one of them. Hardworking staff deserve a career path, benefits, mentorship, competitive salary, and growth opportunities – these will take them much farther than a piece of plastic with their name engraved on it.

What employees really want in the workplace

Flexibility and work/life balance

Whether the pandemic influenced it or not, the typical 9-5 workday is outdated and overrated. Employees now seek permanent flexibility to work a schedule and timeline that best suits their needs and lifestyle. Employers who dig in their heels and refuse to adopt a flexible, hybrid environment fail to keep up with today’s workforce needs and are at risk of losing their talent and losing out on new hires.

In the 2018 Global Talent Trends study conducted by Mercer, results found that over 51% of employees across various industries wanted their organization to offer more flexible options in the workplace.

Flexibility and work-life balance go hand-in-hand. Organizations that provide flexible work options in the form of schedules, hours, work locations, telecommuting, and paid time off empower their workforce to prioritize their work-life balance resulting in boosted productivity, morale, mental health, and overall wellbeing.

In order for workplace flexibility to be an effective, permanent solution, all employees must be notified of their options and be encouraged to act upon them based on their individual needs. Employees who feel that their needs are being met have a stronger sense of trust in their organization and its culture.

Read more: Strengthening Culture in Hybrid Work Environments


Next to salary, benefits are the top motivator that goes a long way to increase productivity and encourage employees to optimize their efforts.

Whether it’s parking passes, gym memberships, or a good health benefits package, people feel like a valued member of the team when they feel looked after with perks that suit their needs.

Clear expectations and goals

Employees who are periodically given a clear understanding of their role, responsibilities, expectations, and overall objectives are better prepared to perform optimally and work with a sense of purpose. When these elements are ambiguous, unfinished, or not prioritized, employees do not feel a sense of agency in their role or what they produce, which can cause issues with productivity and retention. For best results, perform monthly check-ins to go over these foundations with employees and conduct both quarterly and yearly performance reviews for bigger-picture discussions.

A sense of purpose

We’ve all heard the saying, “if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” While this is ultimately the goal for some individuals, typically people just want to work with a sense of purpose. Too often, employees are simply working for their paycheque and not for the significance of their contribution to society. Having a purpose in the workplace is one of the most underrated desires of the modern-day workplace. Many employees would rather forego the in-office keg, nap pods, and office gaming rooms in exchange for truly fulfilling work. This sense of purpose is often overlooked or regarded as minimally important by today’s profit-focused climate.

When employees feel a sense of purpose, they are more connected to their work, their peers, and their organization. This results in boosted employee morale, motivation, productivity, mental health, and overall wellbeing and job satisfaction. In the same 2018 study by Mercer, employees are three times more likely to opt for employment at an organization that delivers a strong sense of purpose to its staff.

Employers who wish to foster a sense of purpose among their employees must:

  • Establish a clear company vision, mission, and values statement
  • Communicate
  • Recognize performance and express gratitude
  • Clearly explain how performance impacts the organization and its clients
  • Share client success stories and case studies
  • Focus on the bigger picture and communicate transparently with the organization

A sense of community

Anxiety, stress, burnout, fear, and the unknown are all playing a role in our personal and professional lives. Whether we are facing issues caused by the pandemic, trauma, or other sources of conflict, we desire to feel accepted and valued, particularly in our professional and personal relationships. That’s why it’s so unfortunate that some organizations have failed to make connection and community a priority within their corporate structure and culture.

Feeling connected and part of a community at work is of particular importance in today’s hybrid office-remote climate. While it is challenging to juggle strategies that engage both in-office and remote workers, there are resources available that can help.

Forbes highlights 11 ways employers can create a sense of community in their hybrid work environment:

  1. Don’t forget to include them the “extras”
  2. Don’t play favourites
  3. Help people connect through weekly emails
  4. Host informal chats with remote employees
  5. Encourage pre- and post-meeting socializing
  6. Have everyone attend virtual meetings individually
  7. Use an easy system for virtual chats
  8. Hold company-wide meetings to sync up
  9. Empower managers
  10. Highlight your team’s success internally
  11. Communicate often

Career development

An organization that takes time to understand the career goals of their employees and mentor, train, and offer tools and resources to help propel them on their career path is more likely to have long-term, higher-performing staff who are engaged with their work and the organization.

Career development comes in many forms; whether it’s through one-on-one mentoring sessions, professional training and educational programs, skills development, or promotion planning, there are endless ways to show influential employees that their role in the organization is important and that they are a valued member of the workplace community.

Communication and transparency

The influence of strong communication and transparency within a company culture holds no bounds on how beneficial it can be to workplace morale, employee trust, and overall employee satisfaction. Communicate with your team and other departments clearly and frequently and always do so in an honest, transparent manner – you are speaking to autonomous adults, after all. Whether these communications are done through emails, team chats, town halls, video calls, phone conferences, one-on-ones, or texts, always ensure you communicate information through the appropriate channels and to the appropriate individuals. For example, chats aren’t the best outlet for important company changes, and texts aren’t appropriate for negative news.

Read more: Why Transparency Is Crucial for Company Culture

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is not a new concept, but it has certainly been making a more significant impact over the last several years. More and more employees are looking for a morally driven organization that understands how DEI impacts the community and those who reside within the systemic boundaries of being a minority.

Unfortunately, we see a lot of organizations that claim to prioritize DEI but do not show any genuine effort to apply these values in their company. For example, boasting about DEI but only having representation of minority groups visible within entry-level, lower-paying roles does not demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of DEI or how to implement it within business development.

Employees need to know representation and opportunity are available at all levels within the organization and with appropriate salaries based on those roles and responsibilities.

Read more: How to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

Read more: Recognizing and Responding to Racial Discrimination in the Office

The Takeaway

Employers and leaders who are serious about creating an environment that retains their workforce must acknowledge the needs of the individual and develop a structure based on respecting and following through on those needs. This look at what employees really want from their work and leaders is just a starting off point, but can be helpful to those who have identified a need for a positive change in employee culture and policy.

If your organization is experiencing conflict, consulting with a neutral investigator will resolve distracting, challenging situations and empower all participants involved to settle on an agreeable solution and continue being productive within the organization.

At Global Mindful Solutions, we have established a process that aims to provide insightful, comprehensive solutions with a compassionate and unbiased approach. This allows all participants to focus on getting back to work and continue making a positive contribution to their organization while leading a fulfilling role in their careers.

Contact Global Mindful Solutions to get started with neutral, knowledgeable, and effective investigation, mediation and facilitation services.


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