Why culture is more important than perks in recruiting young talents

3.2.2017 / Mika Laaksonen

Working in the recruitment business, we discuss with dozens of companies every month regarding their strategies and challenges in recruitment of young professionals. Certain topics arise in these conversations very regularly – getting millennials interested in the hiring organization and especially keeping them in the house are definitely some of the hottest topics. These are strikingly common challenges the employers are struggling with nowadays.

Quit the talk about great perks and salary

Why is attracting millennials and making them commit into your company so challenging? One of the common reasons seems to be communication of the wrong things: talking about perks and salary.

A quite common misconception among the employers is, that the perks are important in recruiting and committing employees. Maybe it was 10 years ago, but for the young talents entering the job market today, it is usually not! In fact, in a survey aTalent made in September 2016, answered by +1000 millennials, the perks were the second last commitment factor among the 17 listed factors. Also salary, as a commitment factor, was quite far from the top.

So, what should an employer focus on, to attract and commit the millennials? Much more important than the perks, or even salary, is the company’s purpose, culture and values. This has been a rising trend in all recruitment, regardless of age and gender. However, on average, millennials emphasize this a lot more than the previous generations. They want to work at a place that “feels right” and is aligned with their own values and beliefs.

Millennials crave for meaningfulness – You cannot emphasize your purpose too much

To attract the talents that truly fit your company, you need to communicate very strongly what you stand for. What is the purpose for your company’s existence? What is your vision for the future? How is your company going to make a difference in the world? This is what interests the millennials – not your company’s founding years, history, technologies you use or how many employees you have. (Boring, but surprisingly common ingredients of employers’ communication towards potential applicants.)

If your company doesn’t have answers for these questions, you cannot expect anyone to be truly excited about your company – so answer them rather sooner than later, and most importantly communicate the answers strongly!

How to communicate company culture to attract the young professionals?

Ok, values and culture are important. But let’s be clear: there is no one “right culture” that draws all young talents like magic. What is exactly the “right kind of culture” depends strongly on the person – for example not all millennials are startup enthusiasts, even though it might seem like that at the moment.

So don’t try to be something you are not – instead be boldly what you are and bring it out strongly. This will attract to your organization the young talents that share your values. Play with your own strengths.

However there are some cultural aspects that millennials value more than others, so it is useful to know what parts of your culture you should emphasize in your communication. Contact us, if you want to have a discussion to figure out the unique strengths of your company culture and get actionable communication recommendations. There will also be a blog post with this specific topic in the near future.

Should an employer just forget the perks altogether?

Not necessarily. If the perks are closely tied to your culture, they can support it perfectly. For example if art and creativity are important parts of your culture, offering museum cards could be a great perk for your employees.

However, if the perks are just a material incentive without relation to the company culture, it is not usually an effective investment to attract young talents.

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About the writer:

Mika Laaksonen

Mika Laaksonen


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