What Really Matters to Young Hires?
Ping pong tables, beer on tap and unlimited paid time off have become major selling points for the brightest young talent. Has the veil has been lifted on companies whose so called "perks" turn out to be gimmicks? Silicon Valley has marketed its way into to the American Dream: change the world, meet the brightest minds, become a household name. Synonymous with the youngest and brightest talent, corporate America is falling to second-tier candidates. While some hires might witness revolutionary technology, most are offered “benefits” that our parents would laugh at. By making lofty claims and offering half-hearted perks, start-ups and young businesses are building a case for bad PR. Dan Lyons, former HubSpot employee and now writer for HBO’s Silicon Valley and author of “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start Up Bubble”, had some less than glowing words for his former employer. In an article for the New York Post, Lyons wonders, “What is the difference between a loyal employee and a brainwashed cult?” While the article’s author Kyle Smith summarizes, “Groovy young techies, you’ve been played. Tech startups are one gigantic millennial meat-grinder.” The “best companies to work for” can often be talent juicers, using up good ideas and then throwing employees away in favor of “new” talent. If you can’t get your own employees to believe in your product then you’re in trouble. Since the release of Lyons’ book, Fortune points out that HubSpot’s stock is down 14% and co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have done little to dismantle Lyons’ major claims like ageism. But tech-startups aren’t the only ones reverting to idealistic propaganda and cheap gimmicks. Excluding Fortune 500 companies and headline projects, small businesses are jumping on the trend, hoping complex unlimited vacation programs will replace competitive salaries (and also save them money if employees are fired or laid off). According to Forbes, “21 Employee Perks That Attract the Best Talent,” a drink fridge and a ping pong table rank right behind maternity and paternity leave beyond that required by law. It would appear our culture is losing sight of what it takes to be successful and live a balanced work life. Almost gone are the days of 401-ks, life insurance, or sponsored education. These days, ninety-one percent of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace. That equates to 15 – 20 jobs over the course of a lifetime. Is this a case of chicken or the egg? Are millennials leaving jobs because they aren’t given a sense of stability and opportunities to move up? Or are companies not creating these opportunities because millennials are unloyal? Startups and young businesses should consider campaigns that are attracting worthwhile talent, not those looking for the bells and whistles. What does matter to young hires? Fast Company gives some good tips for what a company can do to attract millennial employees including: ●Create opportunities for mentorship, skill acquisition, and co-leadership ●Value means inclusion and giving young talent a voice ●HR is the new life coach These values embody team. Team is a word we take seriously at Bond. While writing this post I was dubious that so many smart and talented graduates could fall for such transparent bait. At Bond, all members are included in brainstorming, including interns. Field trips, team building events and happy hours are fun but necessary. Team resources are leveraged and ideas are sourced firm-wide. Companies hiring can offer whatever they want, but what are they getting in return? Consider what your company can actually follow through with and get the best talent by offering meaningful work and growth. Retirement plans provide longevity, education sponsorship provides new skills, team alignment provides synergy, but would does a ping-pong table get you? Photo credit: “Ping Pong ~ Table Tennis” by Dustin Gaffke licensed under CC 2.0. By Kim Ryng