Employees are more likely to stay at their company if they have a strong sense of community, according to new research. That can include from everything from workplace atmosphere and how well one gets along with coworkers to benefits packages and other perks.
HR startup Gusto, formerly ZenPayroll, polled 618 small business owners and 501 employees at businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The research found that 36% of employees stay at their companies for benefits and perks. Meanwhile, 37% said “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying.
“Startups are often more unconventional in the benefits they offer,” says Gusto spokeswoman Steffi Wu, noting that many go beyond traditional, foundational benefits like healthcare.
Small businesses need to offer benefits or other perks that make the company competitive, the research suggests, especially because many do not offer medical coverage. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers with fewer than 50 employees do not have to provide health insurance.
The majority of employees and employers at small businesses agreed that fostering a sense of community in the workplace directly contributes to a company’s success. More than half (54%) of employees surveyed said that a strong sense of community — having great coworkers, celebrating milestones or uniting over a common mission — kept them at a company longer than was in their best interest.
Two-thirds of the small business owners polled said their companies celebrate birthdays and holidays in the office, and 83% of employees said they feel personally connected to their coworkers. Thirty-seven percent of employees reported staying at their company because they were surrounded by a great team.
“To empower people to act like owners in the business, employers should work collaboratively with employees in building the kind of work community they want,” Wu says.
She says the day-to-day interactions between coworkers matter most to employees; if employers encourage employees to participate in the interviewing process, they might feel like they have a bigger say in who will work on their team in the future.
“Employee engagement is what a lot of people have been tracking in the workplace,” Wu says. “It’s really more focused on relationships and people. At the end of the day, we’re all people.”
Wu recommends small businesses evaluate how they attract the best people and find ways to involve their employees. At Gusto, Wu says, managers specifically interview candidates about personal values and what motivates them.
“We’re actually looking for folks who already believe in the things we believe in,” she says.
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