Are you ‘culture conning’ your employees?

New USA research commissioned by Employer Brand Consultancy Blu Ivy Group shows that after 2+ years of COVID, personal and professional priorities may have shifted for American employees.
Key Findings of the survey:

1) An Employee’s individual purpose trumps popcorn: Asked what they value most about a company’s work culture, 31% of employed Americans ranked ‘purpose – feeling like the work I do is making a difference’ among their top three responses. Purpose trumped vacation time (30%), management that’s responsive to the needs of workers (28%), opportunities for professional advancement and growth (22%), and ability to work remotely (19%) as top valued company work culture points.

In contrast, only 8% of respondents chose in-office perks (e.g. free snacks, beer, daycare, gym fitness center etc). 

‘Purpose’ was only topped by benefits (38%) and flexible work hours (33%.)

Purpose (21%) was less of a priority for workers who worked from home/remotely pre-pandemic.

“As a cornerstone of any employer brand strategy, companies need to take a close look at what their talent will receive in addition to perks and benefits. It’s essential for employers in the post-pandemic workplace to connect the work of talent to both purpose and impact,” said Stacy Parker, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Blu Ivy Group. “We work with our clients to carefully and concretely define their employer brand and employee value propositions.”

2) The (Culture) Con is on:

  • About a third (35%) of employed Americans believe their workplace/employer is ‘Culture Conning,’ defined as a practice by which companies market themselves as having inclusive, employee-centric workplace cultures to recruit employees, but fail to deliver on that promise.
  • Younger respondents (18-34) are significantly more likely to believe this (41%) than those aged 35-54 (34%) and especially those 55+ (27%).
  • One-in-five (22%) employed Americans, including three-in-ten (31%) under the age of 35, have left a position or a company due to ‘Culture Conning.’

“Establishing a well-built and managed employer brand ensures that companies aren’t ‘culture conning’ or falsely advertising a culture that doesn’t exist,” added Parker. “Committed brands need to truly and thoughtfully embed a strong employee promise into the fundamental culture and experience of the company.”

3) Workplace cultures are cracking (and managers may be cracking them🙂

Three-quarters (74%) of employed Americans could cite at least one aspect of their company culture that is “broken.” The top answers cited were: leadership/management (28%), lack of trust between staff and management (23%), lack of work/life balance 23%, and an unsustainable workload (21%).

“Workplaces don’t have to crack, they can bend, adapt and change with genuine insights,” said Parker. “An employee value proposition is the solution to provide leaders and managers with a clear understanding of what talent want and need most. Companies need to learn how they can deliver more consistent experiences aligned to an employee value proposition promise.”

4) Over a quarter of Americans may covet competitor’s work cultures

Three-in-ten (29%) employed Americans, including two-in-five (39%) under the age of 35, are envious of a competing company’s work culture, with better benefits (50%) by far the most common reason given

5) Americans stand behind their social causes

A total of 78% of employed Americans say it’s important that their company stands behind social causes that align with their values. It’s essential to 15%, very important to 30% and somewhat important to 33%.

The Pandemic has left workers longing for purpose in the workplace and significantly less interested in perks. As workplaces adapt to post-pandemic situations, employers need to re-think what workers will receive in addition to perks and benefits and connect the work of talent to both purpose and impact.

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