Data Proves that Culture, Values, and Career are Biggest Drivers of Employment Brand

We just completed a detailed analysis of Glassdoor data among more than 6,000 companies and 2.2 million employees and I wanted to share a few important findings. If you consider “Would you recommend your company as a place to work?” as a NetPromoter question from all these employees, by far the biggest work factor related to employment brand is “culture and values.”

An employee’s rating of “culture and values” is 4.9 times more predictive of a company recommendation than salary and benefits. The second most important factor is “career opportunities,” which is 4.5 more important than salary and benefits. The third factor is “confidence in senior leadership,” which is approximately 4 times more predictive than salary and benefits.  And “work-life balance,” while an important factor, is only half as important as culture.

When you slice this data among Millennials (people under the age of 35), “career opportunities” becomes the #1 driver of employment brand.

What this clearly shows is that while salary and benefits may be one of the most important things you think about in your hiring and investments in people, in reality your investments in leadership, culture, and employee development are far more important.

Over my 20 years as an HR analyst I have seen this play out again and again. Today people are somewhat overwhelmed by their work environment (40% actually believe it is impossible to maintain a successful career and family at the same time) so they crave a job with a culture they enjoy. People seek meaning and values at work, and they look for companies that deliver products and services they are proud of.  (Read our research on The Overwhelmed Employee for more on this topic.)

The issue of learning and development has become paramount in the job market. Most young people will have 70+ year careers, so they know well that their ability to grow and progress is perhaps the most important driver of their future earnings and job satisfaction. Companies that focus on an entire culture of career growth and learning outperform their peers in innovation, long term growth, and employee retention.  (Read Bersin by Deloitte High-Impact Learning Culture for more on this research.)

The issue of “learning” is becoming more important every day. As the quote above shows, education and skills are perhaps the biggest driver of your own personal earnings potential, so organizations that offer training, lots of developmental assignments, and a coaching culture are now the premium places to work. As more and more robotics and artificial intelligence enter the workforce (watch for my article on the Future of Work next month), I believe the “learning curve is the earning curve” is going to be extended even further.

Your ability to continuously reinvent yourself now defines your success.

As an HR or business leader, you are responsible for finding ways to offer people learning and continuous reinvention in your company. This means letting people take developmental and stretch assignments, giving people lots of project-based work, and rewarding managers for coaching and development, not just execution.

If you’re a team leader, executive, or HR professional, think hard about these findings and where you’re spending your time and energy. A focus on culture, development, and leadership pays of in more ways than you can imagine.

(Glassdoor is an employment website that lets employees anonymously rate their companies on a variety of factors.)

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  • Thanks for the post! I completely agree with this. I think that the best company culture is one in which CEOs are more invested in developing their employees than in developing the company, Because in developing your employees the company will develop on its own. I also think that good company culture includes peer recognition and instruction.