For years, companies have offered more and more perks in an effort to lure talented workers. There have been pensions, 401(k)'s, health insurance, stock options, relocation fees, use of the company car, on-site day care, and expense accounts.
I've written before about the great perks at Google and Facebook. These two organizations know that to keep being the best at their respective games, they've got to continue to recruit and retain the best emerging (young) talent out there. So far, they've been able to do that, and they've been extremely remarkable.
But tonight, I was reminded that more and more young people are looking for a workplace where they don't have to leave their values at home. After all, we work nearly as much as we sleep. Therefore, it doesn't make sense if we have to leave behind what we believe in whenever we head out to earn our paycheck.
I caught my first episode of Big Ideas for a Small Planet, airing on the Sundance Channel. This show examines some of the coolest ideas out there. This episode was about work, and it featured different companies going green in the workplace, as well as contributing to their local communities in various ways.
One company profiled was the New Belgium Brewing Company, responsible for Fat Tire. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, one scene showed the celebration going on for three employees celebrating their one-year anniversary with the company. As a gift, each received his or her very own bicycle, just like the one that adorns the label of Fat Tire.
But that's not the perk I want to highlight. New Belgium has figured out how to make its values the best perk available. When asked why she chose to begin working at New Belgium, one employee celebrating her anniversary explained how she moved from Missouri to Fort Collins, hoping to work for New Belgium because she had heard about their sustainability practices, their idea that work can be fun, and their values as a company.
By being a company with values, New Belgium saves money. Watch the episode and you'll see how they save on energy costs by having lots of 'green' practices at work in the brewery. But even better for the bottom line is what they spent to get this employee, who is motivated, energetic, and completely loyal to this organization: $0.
It cost them $0 to put an ad in the paper to attract her attention because the company's values were newsworthy already. It cost them $0 to move her form Missouri to Colorado because she moved on her own. It cost them $0 to motivate her to make sure she comes in to work everyday and does her job well. It cost them $0 to replace her after she found a better job, because to her, she's got the best job out there.
People today, especially young professionals, are looking for a gig in which they don't have to put their value in daycare while they're at work. They are deeply passionate people, aware of more ideas and beliefs than any other generation before them. If you think all the young workers are leaving your company because they're lazy and in search of a fast promotion without the hard work, you might want to take an inventory of what your company stands for.
It doesn't matter if your company sells widgets or hybrid cars. If employees aren't able to feel like their employer cares about what they think and feel, they'll be looking for one that does before their dental plan kicks in.
How many bottom lines do you have?