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  • Mike Bensi

The Best Employee Benefit isn't Found in the Break Room


Standing desks. Large open windows. Plenty of snacks - even the healthy ones. The ability to wash your dog on site or have someone watch your dog on site.


Working with companies, I have the pleasure of checking out various workplaces. With the pandemic and people reshuffling more and more - I get to see new workspaces more and more, as well as the interesting benefits and perks companies are throwing out to attract and keep talent.


New offices. New benefits. New. New.


We're all trying to figure out how to help our people stay - and how to attract new people - by finding the right combination of perks or benefits. The right combination of work from home and at the office.


But when I ask the leaders how it's going, the response isn't as shiny as the new space. They have the same old problems - communication, turnover, etc. - just in a new space. And with better snacks.


Many companies are making changes and improvements in benefits without touching the strategies around how they and their management team lead others.


According to Gallup, when managers manage well, employees are:

  • More engaged in their jobs

  • More likely to have an excellent quality of life

  • More likely to strongly agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day

Can your perks do that?


While better benefits definitely don’t hurt, creating a leadership strategy will more likely drive the needs, desires - and performance - of your employees. Companies who do this well ensure they:


Understand what it means to be a leader. Good managers are those who help employees feel valued, appreciated, and aligned to expectations. They coach others - versus being task masters. Companies who are intentional about their leadership strategy spell out what behaviors look like in their organization to lead and manage well.


Don’t promote based on experience. Many of us have had a manager who was promoted because they were in a role the longest or did the best in their past role. And those managers weren’t able to make us feel valued, appreciated, or engaged. Companies who have a leadership strategy promote and hire based on the traits needed to be successful as a leader - versus what made the candidate successful in the past.


Focus on continuous improvement. Just as you would change out old coffee or snacks in the break room, a strong leadership strategy is constantly improving and evolving. Leaders and managers are placed into a role and given resources to improve their performance and development.


Highlight their leadership benefits. The next time you post for an open position, how likely are you to show off your management team as much as you show off your break room? You don’t necessarily need to place pictures of the management team - can you post the successes the team has achieved in developing, engaging, and appreciating others?


If you want to make a place where people want to work, start in the conference room and not in the break room.

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