When Building Culture, Does Checking a Box Count?

Empty office with desks and desktop computers.

Nearly all organizations are trying to decide how they can both create and build culture . But are they doing it for the right reasons?

Simply offering the latest benefits in hopes of fostering company culture won’t work. Without a proper communication plan, they’re unlikely to make any progress.

But when we consider an employer’s perspective, checking a box is easy to do.

  • Healthcare benefit? Check.
  • Retirement plan benefit? Check.
  • Monthly incentives? Check.
  • Pet insurance? Check.

Gym and parking stipend? Check.

Wellbeing program? Check.

If an organization checks off everything from their employee benefits list for the year, it’s easy to feel like they’ve done all they can to support their employees.

But if you look at a company who has checked all of the boxes compared to an organization that focuses on engaging their employees year round, organizations that go the extra mile reap the rewards in both increased ROI and stronger company culture.

Engaging Your Employees

While it’s nearly impossible to achieve 100% engagement in all of your benefits from all of your employees, engaged employees are vital to the creation of strong company culture.

In addition to having access to a benefit, employees also need to believe that their employer has their best interests at heart.

For example, if an employer is rolling out a new wellness program and they send emails, hang up flyers, and schedule a launch, but wait 11 months for the next open enrollment season to mention it to employees again, adoption and engagement rates will suffer.

However, imagine if that same employer encourages and supports their new benefit all year long — not only communicating about the benefit, but also believing in the benefit’s ability to help employees. The impact on company culture would be substantial.

Boosting Company Culture by Supporting Benefits

Here are a few tips that can help ensure you are building culture while supporting different employee benefits instead of just checking a box:

  • Defining a benefit’s purpose: What is the underlying issue a benefit is attempting to solve? Understanding this will help you be sincere in promoting the benefit.
  • Try it out yourself: Employees will inevitably have questions about new benefits you roll out. Try out the benefits yourself and use it in the way you want your employees to use it so that you can be there to answer their questions.
  • Regular check-ins: Make sure you are regularly communicating with your benefits provider. They are often experts in the area and can be a great resource for you. Try to check-in at least once per quarter.
  • Review the analytics — Understand how and why your employees are engaging with the offering. You will learn key information about your team’s interests and needs that you may not have previously known.

Remember, building culture is long-term. You will not find culture in a benefit offering after six months.

Benefits are meant to have a lasting impact on employees’ wellbeing for years.

Think about companies in your industry and see which ways they’re going beyond just checking a box to build their company culture and implement your favorite strategies.


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