Innovation, Creative Cultures and Talent

From shortened workweeks, massages, unlimited sushi, to ball pits, spaceships, and dinosaurs – companies are looking to innovative ways to attract and retain top talent.

Met Life’s 2010 study of Employee Benefits Trends reveals for companies of all sizes, one in three employees may become a flight risk largely due to the fact that employers are emphasizing their focus on cost control and cost shifting – and placing less importance on increasing employee job satisfaction. There is also reduced emphasis on benefits that help employees achieve a better work-life balance.

Companies like Google, who have created an out-of-the-box platform of employee recognition and awards labeled “way beyond the basics,” have modeled their workplace cultures explicitly around millennial life which is stressed in their hiring brochure. From offering massages, unlimited sushi, to the décor of dinosaurs and the hot-tub ball pit from which employees can dive into and throw ball fights, Google certainly caters to millennials fresh out of college.

While I’m all for creative approaches to employee engagement, retention and attraction – I have to wonder if we start out using such extreme measures how are we going to keep up this circus act for the newest and most outlandish practices in keeping our employees in a state of awe? 

In fact, Google employees seem a little less excited about things after the new wears off.  Nobody says “We’re on a mission to change the world!” anymore. Now they say, “Yeah, I’m just going to stick around here another six months until my options vest.” and “I kind of want to transfer out of my group but I worry that all the other groups are worse.”

Whatever approach best fits your company culture, there are a lot of elements to consider when implementing policies:

  • What can your company afford?
  • How does your approach align with your corporate culture and values?
  • What are your current demographics?
  • What are the measurable results of HR’s decisions?
  • What value is being added to the company?

There’s the old saying that “happy employees are productive employees” and that is worth evaluating. But before making any decisions, think about the short and long-term impact of your changes and how many resources it would take to maintain.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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