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Company Culture vs Employee Benefits: What Is and What Isn’t a Benefit?

By November 2, 2021No Comments

Whether the term ‘company culture’ is something your organisation uses or cringes at, there’s no escaping its emergence in the last few years. However, with ‘excellent company culture’ beginning to feature more and more in job ads listed as a benefit, exactly what is it and how does it differ?

What is the definition of company culture?

It seems a lot like there are a lot of opinions on what is and isn’t a company culture. Some businesses will say their culture is regular social events and free coffee, whereas for others it is so much more.

Company culture encompasses a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals.1

Alternate names: Organisational culture, corporate culture, workplace culture

So ultimately, it is what you make it.

What are the benefits of developing a ‘company culture’?

Let’s think of company culture as a shared set of values that are bolstered strategically and maintained from leadership teams down to entry level employees. Because let’s face it, a culture is a shared experience and an unspoken agreement to behave in a certain way.

A company culture should be communicated, delivered, and influence how everyone behaves, and it should make a positive impact. It instils security, confidence and is a breeding ground for productivity. But it’s not just something written in a new starters handbook and forgotten.

SHRM gives three strong benefits of having a solid, well defined company culture:

  1. Employees know how management wants them to respond to any situation.
  2. They are aligned with this response and feel comfortable with it.
  3. And they know that they will be rewarded for following protocols and encouraging others to do the same.

Having an ineffective or neglecting company culture can look like apathetic, disengaged employees. It can be poor customer experience, high staff turnover and ultimately impact profits. 

Why talk about company culture in recruitment ads?

By outlining how you organisation operates and ways of working, your recruitment process to find people who are the “right fit” for the job as much as for the team should improve.

SHRM suggests the following hiring practices:

  • Ask questions that elicit comments about organisational values (e.g. honesty, integrity, diversity etc.)
  • Assess using situational questions to gauge if the candidates natural persona is in keeping with how you operate
  • Ask about their experiences and beliefs and gauge the fit
  • Involve multiple people in the hiring process so that you can all assess suitability, for example, some people will be more tuned into certain behaviours and language

It is still important to talk about your employee benefits within your recruitment drive though:

  • 60% of people say that benefits and perks are one of their top considerations when deciding on a job
  • 78% of Britons would be more likely to apply for a job if an advert mentioned the benefits on offer

This is just demonstrating another way that your company cares for employees. And these days, benefits are scrutinised perhaps more than before, with healthcare and insurances topping the list of tangible benefits, alongside flexibility and hybrid working.

So, is it an employee benefit?

The short answer is no. On paper, a company culture is not a benefit. We define employee benefits as something that helps improve life outside of work. That said, it’s worth talking about your company culture in your job description, as it helps paint a picture of life in your organisation.

Knowing about a company’s approach to training and development, work/life balance and how employees will be supported by leadership and management are great ways to help a gauge if they are a good fit.

Summary

While company culture is not an employee benefit as such, it does help make for an attractive proposition for retaining and attracting new talent. The two should work in harmony, with the values of your culture reflected in your offering.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you drive better employee engagement and look after your talent, book in for a demo. Our digital benefits platform houses your benefits, rewards and recognition schemes, and allows you to communicate with your workforce too.