Welcome to TL;DR (Tracy’s Latest Discussion Recap). We’re keeping you up to date on thought leadership from Tracy Lawrence, CEO & Co-Founder of Chewse. Today’s topic: how to make long term hires in a tight talent market and, as a bonus, how to effectively increase employee retention through catering.
The US unemployment rate hit a record low 3.6% in 2019, the lowest it’s been since 1969. You’ve likely heard this thrown around or mentioned, but it isn’t something you should ignore or brush aside. As the Washington Post notes, “low unemployment is forcing employers to raise pay and become more aggressive about hiring and training workers.” It’s what economists call a “job seekers market” or even a “full employment” economy, since most people looking for jobs can find one.
This is all well and good. But why is an office catering blog talking about employment rates?
While we are definitely not economists, we do have more skin in the game than most companies. With pickier job seekers, benefits like office catering become more important – and not just because free food is great.😍 Company benefits also indicate a company’s culture is healthy, thriving, and important to company leaders.
This is especially important for the new Millennial workforce. Famously (and sometimes unkindly) Millenials are the generation that cares most about interpersonal relationships, belonging at work, and finding mission-driven organizations. As our CEO, Tracy Lawrence, writes in a recent Recruiter article:
“Employees are ready, willing, and able to search for jobs they find meaningful. If there isn’t a strong alignment between the company’s mission and the employees’ purposes and values in the workplace, those employees will likely go looking for organizations that better suit them.”
This isn’t to say your company has to be solving cancer (though if you are, you rock!) or even be the next “Uber of…” anything. That just means employees are looking for companies that say what they believe in, and stand by what they say.
Building better benefits
So, how can your office compete? As we discuss in our eBook, it’s not just about offering a better salary. In fact, 80% of US employees would choose increased & better benefits over a 30% higher salary and no benefits.
Oftentimes, Millennial employees are moving away from home to new cities. They have a job, but they don’t know anyone in the city. Worse, they may be struggling to befriend people since they spend so much time at work. That’s why more employees want their offices to be more like a “second family” – people they can connect with at the office and beyond.
As Tracy writes:
“Meaningful work is not just a matter of the company’s mission; it’s also about empowering culture… The search for meaningful work often makes finding a company that minimizes office politics. Job seekers are drawn to companies with tight-knit teams and transparent, inclusive cultures.”
The thing is – you can’t just wave a magic wand and expect office politics to go away. This is especially true if your office already has negative aspects of culture built-in. How can you negate those aspects, and encourage new ones?
Employee retention through catering
One of the best ways to boost office community is through food. During mealtime, employees have longer conversations, more personal connections, and deeper bonds. Whether they’re talking about work or their personal lives, these conversations stick with them. That tension between the Marketing and Sales teams, over this quarters goals? It’s not gone, but it’s easier to ignore and work around disagreements when employees know each other personally – not just professionally. That company roadblock you’ve been having? An Engineer and an Account Manager happened to sit next to each other, and came up with a just-so-crazy-it-might-work solution.
And maybe nothing direction comes from these lunchtime conversations. But even if you don’t see a direct company-related ROI, you will see employees who are happier, more engaged, and as a result, more invested in your company.
A benefit on both sides
Having a healthy, thriving company culture doesn’t just pull the best employees towards your company – it also helps you vet for people who aren’t great fits. Every company wants to hire the best, longest-term employees, but even the most talented employees will be dissapointed (and ultimately leave) if they don’t mesh with your company culture. So you aren’t just increasing employee retention through catering and other workplace benefits – you’re also attracting the employees that will work best at your company. According to Tracy:
“Employees who don’t fit your company culture are likely to leave after only a brief period of time. Selecting for values helps ensure a long-term hire.”
At Chewse, we’re proud of the Love & Excellence culture we’ve built. That isn’t to say your company needs to function the same way. If you aren’t sure what your company culture should be, try interviewing company employees to learn more about what they value and what they’re looking for. Tracy discusses how to do this, and other ways to focus on company values in order to increase employee retention, in her Recruiter article. Read more here.
“You dont have to fear high employee turnover in a job seeker’s market if you understand the dynamic of employees seeking self-actualization in their jobs and how that shapes their values. If your company’s values are clear and your hiring practice is informed by those values, you will attract candidates who want to belong. That is how you will stay aligned with your team’s hearts and keep people around for the long term.” – Tracy Lawrence