When millennials make career decisions, company culture is one of the major factors that determine whether they join (or leave) an organization.  And it’s not just millennials; a newly released study from Glassdoor suggests that when it comes to attracting new applicants a company’s culture may be just as important as the salary they offer, if not more so. This makes having a strong culture is essential for any business looking to attract the best talent.

But what does “company culture” actually mean? Too often, companies use the phrase to describe office perks, like free lunches, a pool table or a dog-friendly workplace. While most people enjoy these benefits, in the big picture they are nice-to-haves that don’t actually impact whether people join a company or thrive there for a long time.

In my experience, the keys to a thriving company culture are focusing on performance, motivation and personal and professional development. A culture of performance is about keeping employees engaged with both the goals of the business and their own career aspirations. It should help people remain motivated because they always know what they’re trying to achieve and prevent them from being overstretched or burnt out because they have clear priorities.

Creating a performance-based culture does not mean simply posting a mission statement and a few vague platitudes on the walls. It’s something that should be felt throughout your company on a daily basis and reinforced and practiced by everyone from senior leadership to the interns.

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Lori Ciano