Why Free Snacks in the Workplace Won’t Improve Employee Engagement

The modern workplace can be tough to manage. The varying demographics make it challenging to keep all employees focused and engaged, which requires a sort of acrobatic approach to managing a workplace. One way to help increase engagement that has become popular–specifically among millennials–is offering free snacks for employees. There’s a lot of buzz about how this is the way to win the hearts of employees and how it will lead them to a happier work-life.

Except for one thing: free food won’t suddenly create a work environment that everyone loves. Not on its own.

Snacks are definitely a great perk that employees appreciate, but increasing engagement really boils down to is culture. If your company’s overall culture stifles growth and happiness and the ability for employees to grow, no amount of free anything will prevent employees from leaving.

So it’s not a matter of offering free snacks, but having this perk be a part of your company’s culture.

Where Free Snacks for Employees Fit Into Your Company’s Culture

The mere mention of a company’s culture likely conjures up images of employees at Google or Facebook lounging around playing games in the break room as if they were hanging out with friends instead of at work.

But culture is more than that.

It’s a combination of the work environment and the company’s overall objectives, including its mission and values. Free snacks help create a work environment that employees value and feel valued, and those who feel valued are more likely to be more engaged and happier at work.

How To Improve Your Company’s Culture

Free snacks themselves won’t magically increase engagement among employees, but it is a start. Here are five other ways to help improve your company’s culture.

  1. Embrace Transparency
  2. Recognizing Valuable Contributions
  3. Foster Strong Relationships Among Employees
  4. Encourage Independence
  5. Communicate Passion

If your employees seem unengaged at work, start looking at your company culture and figure out a way to make changes that reflect the type of company employees want to work for.