Beyond Friday beer pong: What perks do employees crave?

Affording associates a flexible work schedule conveys respect. Freedom breeds responsibility—in those staffers worth keeping—and the culture they build will foment productivity and results.

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Lots of companies are proud of their culture.

They talk about perks like “beer Fridays” and company events that get everyone together for fun and camaraderie. From the outside, these perks can seem like great ways to keep team members happy and make your company a fun place to work.

In many cases, this does have the desired effect. There are plenty of companies that use food, events and other structured perks to create a great company culture.

Too often, however, I see these things overshadow the perks that team members actually want, and, in some cases, such imposed happenings can damage your company culture.

Structured events and pressure to conform to cultural expectations can undermine the intended effect. Too often organizations take a “top down” cultural approach rather than a “grass roots” approach. I can’t really blame them. After all, how many times have we been told that we have to overtly create a company culture? (Hint: a lot.)

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