I still remember when one of the companies that I worked for reduced their weekly catered lunches to once a month and pizza only. No more catered cuisines were on the horizon. It was quiet on our first Thursday without catered lunch. People quietly went in groups to hunt for their own lunches. You could feel the change…odd isn’t it? It’s just lunch right?
Company perks are great. I’m all for it but it’s time that we evolve and think beyond the perks and the budget allocations. Perks are always susceptible to being either flung at people or taken away depending on a company’s budget. We have to start thinking about our organizational environments as an ecosystem. What happens when you drain the swamp or introduce a new species? Sometimes the impact is minor and other times it is the start of a slow and painful death to that ecosystem.
The workforce has changed! Organizations have to be more well-rounded in order to attract good talent. Millennials don’t want to just work. We want to thrive and be planted in a multifaceted organizational ecosystem, that cares about the world and its employees.
Instead of thinking about perks in terms of what we should add or takeaway, consider analyzing what it is that your organizational eco-system needs and how to evolve the many organisms that live in it.
What is needed in order to maintain and evolve your organization’s ecosystem?
So, let’s say that you agree with everything I’ve said BUT your company doesn’t have the budget for Whirly Ball, snacks or regular outings. First figure out where your funds are being allocated and consider this.
If you only have enough money to buy a healthy fish and a beautiful tank but no fish food, then you shouldn’t buy the fish at all.
Now I’m not saying to go out right now and pull money out of paying the office rent to buy nap pods. We have to make it a priority to put people first in our organizations. All that is required is authentic care of your particular ecosystem, no matter the size of your company or resources. You have to feed the fish and keep it healthy in order for it to survive.
Guess what, nurturing your ecosystem may actually cost you less money than planning a ping pong outing. It’s about tuning into what your team needs in order to thrive, feel planted and build community. It could be that you need to skip the happy hour and go out as a team to volunteer one month.
Food For Thought
What if you redesigned your company’s snack program? Free food is a great motivator but we need to take this a step further. Grabbing a granola bar and running back to your desk does not help to create community at work. We’ve lost the art of breaking bread together. Instead of cutting down the Twinkie spend, what if we bought foods that encourage community, exploration and rejuvenation?