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Workplace Culture Trends: The Key to Hiring (and Keeping) Top Talent in 2018

While the challenge to hire and retain top talent is on the rise, companies need to understand what matters most to professionals in 2018.

Colin Anderson/Getty Images
Colin Anderson/Getty Images

While the challenge to hire and retain top talent is on the rise, companies need to understand what matters most to professionals in 2018. In fact, the largest skills shortage nationwide is for soft skills, with employers running up against a shortage of 1.4 million professionals. At LinkedIn, talent is our #1 operating priority – for all lines of business and in every region. Our new research takes a closer look at what it takes to attract, retain and foster top professionals – revealing what company culture means to employees nationwide, and identifying the key factors companies must prioritize in order to win-over the strongest and most skilled professionals.

The main takeaway? Culture reigns supreme. Consider this: *70% of professionals in the U.S. today would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate a bad workplace culture. So much so, that people would rather put up with lower pay (65%) and forego a fancy title (26%) than deal with a bad workplace environment.

So what can companies do to foster a culture that makes people want to work for them – and more importantly, stay?

Tip 1: Invest in Employees

Committing to your employees’ wellbeing goes a long way. When it comes to retention, one of the top factors keeping professionals at their company for more than five years is having strong workplace benefits (44%). Think PTO, parental leave and health insurance. On top of that are more intangible areas that matter to employees – professionals say they are proudest to work at companies that promote work-life balance and flexibility (51%), foster a culture where they can be themselves (47%) and have a positive impact on society (46%).

While people generally love the idea of perks like free food and game rooms, our research shows this is actually one of the least enticing factors for keeping professionals at their current companies (19%). Instead, people would much rather see their company focusing in on benefits like learning and development programs, philanthropic opportunities and more.

Tip 2: Maintain Values

Values define your company at its core, and are among the most important aspects for attracting and retaining great employees. 71% of professionals say they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that has a mission they believe in and shared values. Additionally, nearly 2 in 5 (39%) professionals would leave their current job if their employer were to ask them to do something they have an ethical or moral conflict with.

Appeal to today’s professionals by establishing a clear set of values, communicating them during the hiring process and onboarding, and ensuring your business practices bring those values to life.

Tip 3: Create a Culture of Belonging

Belonging is what allows employees to feel like they can be their authentic selves without fear of different treatment or punishment — and it has a major impact on performance and retention. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s internal Employee Voice Survey (EVS), 82% of our employees feel that they belong at LinkedIn, are comfortable being themselves, and that someone they work closely with cares about them as a person. That’s a rise of one point since our last survey six months ago, and eight points above the tech benchmark, according to Glint. Nearly half (47%) of professionals who are proud of the company they work for say it’s because their company has a positive culture where they can be themselves.

Cultivating an environment where all employees feel like they belong is the secret weapon for retention. The number one factor keeping today’s professionals at their jobs for more than five years is having coworkers they enjoy working with and who they can be themselves around.

Professionals today prioritize a sense of belonging, supportive leadership and social impact in their day-to-day work lives. The companies that attract and retain top talent are those fostering a positive workplace culture where these factors are at the forefront.

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