News flash: if you want to make your firm more attractive to young lawyers, hold off on installing that juice bar or video arcade in your break room.
It turns out millennials are less interested in cool perks than in something more old-fashioned: the chance to be a part of a great team.
“When it comes to choosing an employer, the common belief is that nothing matters more than how amazing the company culture and perks are,” writes researcher Marcus Buckingham. “Unfortunately, that happens to be one of the biggest lies. Once you’ve joined a company that looks great on the surface, you can still end up being miserable because the only factor that determines how happy you’ll be at your new job is your team — the people who manage you, the people you work with, interact with, collaborate with and run into every day.”
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
We all share a need for belonging, a desire to be a part of a larger group. A family, team or tribe. In fact, as needs go, this one ranks just behind food, water and shelter on Maslow’s iconic hierarchy.
Perks, on the other hand, come and go.
“Within your first few months at a company, you’re bound to be asked by a friend what’s it really like to work there,” writes Buckingham. “If you’re going to be completely honest with them, you’re not going to tell them about the solar panels or endless lunch options in the cafeteria. Instead, you’ll get real and explain how work is parceled out, whether managers play favorites, how disputes get resolved and so on.”
8 Tips on Team Building
- Hire quality people. Do this for all positions, including administrative jobs and even temps. A team is only as strong as its weakest link.
- Set a good example. The team looks to its leaders for guidance, support and vision.
- Establish clear, measurable goals. “Getting more clients” is not a clear goal. “Getting 10 new clients each month” is.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page. “Goals need to be agreed upon, consistent throughout the organization, focused, and valuable,” according to the Manager’s Resource Handbook. “Numerous goals lead to multiple agendas and harm progress because there is too broad a focus.”
- Celebrate wins. Even small ones deserve an end-zone dance. It’s fun, and it keeps things light.
- Focus on relationships. The team will succeed or fail on the strength of its personal connections.
- Communicate regularly. Listen as much as you talk.
- Create a firm where people want to stay. Ask them what they like and don’t like about working here. Consider their responses in your management decisions.
18 Great Perks
If you’re going to offer perks, you might as well offer good ones. Here are 18 perks – some of which are more accurately described as benefits - that employees value most highly, according to Brock Blake of Lendio:
- Unlimited personal time off
- Gym membership
- Extra time off for holidays
- Free on-site spa services
- Maternity and paternity leave beyond what is required by law
- Drink fridge
- Ping-pong table
- Firm-sponsored sports teams
- Off-site social events
- Subsidized education
- Time off for birthdays
- New computers or tablets when hired
- Season sports passes
- Free food
- Paid time off for community service
- Onsite childcare
- Paid time during the day for recreation, relaxation, recharging
So how do you build a great team at your firm? What perks do you offer?