People Want a Better Boss Over Free Snacks

Offering employees in-office perks like unlimited vacation or free lunch may attract talent, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to an engaged workforce. According to research conducted by The Muse, 35% of those polled would prefer a better boss over free snacks, fewer emails, or even a private office.

Office perks are increasingly ubiquitous, like the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, or wellness plans like Facebook’s. Despite the expanding creativity of employee benefits packages, employee turnover still runs rampant in companies where leadership falls short.

This goes beyond fun perks in the office, too. More than 1 in 4 employees would even trade a better boss over a $5,000 pay raise, according to a study by Randstad US.

A study by Dale Carnegie Training found that 88% of employees value a boss who listens to them, yet only 66% of them said their managers do.

The culture you create or the culture you destroy will determine the success of your business.

Employees who believe their managers can name their strengths are 71% more likely to feel engaged and energized by their work, according to a 2015 study by The VIA Institute on Character.

Leaders who rethink benefits and toss together a sparkling hiring package, but forget to engage and empower employees on a daily basis will likely find themselves with disengaged employees and high turnover. What could be the reason for all of this? Employees want better bosses even in an office stocked with free lunch, a kegerator, and unlimited vacation?

Yes, people want come to work knowing they are making a difference with their work. They want to add value to their organizations, and want to be valued as a member of the team. An employee-employer relationship based on open communication can help close the disconnect that stifles employee satisfaction. Everything from weekly check-ins to establishing a feedback system are simple ways to improve employee trust and happiness in the workplace. Ask for regular feedback from your employees to avoid miscommunication.

The VIA Institute on Character found that 78% of employees feel they are making a difference and appreciated when managers focused on their strengths over their weaknesses.

Encourage your employees to be honest with you on things like workload and job satisfaction to ensure they are working to their highest potential, and happily so. As an employer, take the initiative to seek out feedback so that your employees, in turn, return the favor.

"Employees are more satisfied with their job and more likely to stay when their leaders are honest, trustworthy and true to their beliefs," says Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training.

Company culture is a critical factor considered by job seekers that differentiates companies and aligns them with the right type of employee. People are just that–people. Perks and salary alone will not set your organization apart from one with honest, engaged managers and transparent leadership teams.