There's a serious threat facing every business, entrepreneur, and CEO today. It has nothing to do with funding, product, or even competitors, and everything to do with people. When you ask most companies about what makes them a great place to work, you'll often hear about perks. Like Ping-Pong tables, nap rooms, and free beer. HubSpot has all of these things. The problem is, employees today aren't motivated by perks but by their peers.

At HubSpot, we've found that the No. 1 thing that attracts amazing people is other amazing people. Don't get me wrong; employees aren't immune to game rooms, catered lunch, and happy hours (who is?). But at the end of the day, people beat out perks every time. To keep top performers happy, you need to think outside the kitchen and get maniacal about whom you hire.

By hiring an employee who has the right résumé but isn't the right cultural fit, you take on culture debt. One bad apple may not seem like cause for concern in the long run, but in reality, the interest rate on this type of debt is extremely high. Lowering the bar on hiring to quickly fill a role or check a box means you'll spend more time trying to raise it in the long run.

In order to be good at growing, companies have to be great at recruiting. Using tools like Glassdoor and Inbound.org is a great way to start connecting with the right future hires, but building a valuable culture from the inside out is just as important. Here are three ways you can attract and promote top employees at your organization:

Communicate Your Mission Early and Often

People used to work for pensions and paychecks, but now they're more concerned with purpose. In fact, 84 percent of Millennials say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. The companies that attract and retain top talent are ones that obsess over their mission as much as their revenue. For starters, wearing your core values on your sleeve helps get the right candidates in the door. Say I'm job hunting and hear there's a company nearby that's hiring rapidly. If I did a quick Google search and saw that the company's passions didn't quite jive with mine, I probably wouldn't go through the trouble of applying there. Culture debt crisis averted. For HubSpot, manifesting our commitment to solving for the customer in our Culture Code has not only made recruiting easier but also employees' jobs. There are fewer roadblocks to tackle when everybody is working toward the same overarching goal. Not to mention, purpose is extremely contagious. We've found that employees today want to spend their time and talents on a solving a problem, so your company's mission has to be much more than a statement on your website.

Don't Make Amazing People Do Antiquated Things

Companies that are still hung up on structure, tenure, and formalities will lose top talent to those creating a culture of autonomy. Period. Letting employees loose on their craft will reward your company in spades for a few reasons. First, your customers are guaranteed to have smoother, more valuable interactions with your brand if everyone from your CEO to your interns is empowered to answer their questions and solve their problems. There's no 'authorized personnel only' roadblock, which makes customers and employees alike happy. Top performers don't want to be micromanaged. If you give employees the freedom to innovate, they won't drag their feet to the office or watch the clock all day. Instead, they'll leave feeling rewarded and having produced real results. To attract and retain 21st-century talent, remember that you should always be hiring to elevate, not delegate.

Create a Culture Where Ideas Trump Titles

As a young employee, there is nothing worse than suggesting a game-changing idea 75 times before someone from senior management finally takes notice. When a senior employee does take notice, he often introduces the idea as his own, adding further insult to injury for a smart and insightful junior employee. One of the benefits of working at a fast-growing startup should be that ideas and innovation trump industry experience, so create an environment that rewards the quality of the idea over the gravity of an individual's title. At HubSpot, we have what we call "the world's most interesting Wiki," an Atlassian product that we've customized for collaboration and communication organization-wide. On it, everyone is empowered (and encouraged) to share their ideas, to vocalize their concerns and questions about the assumptions or conclusions of others, and to initiate companywide dialogue on items of great importance to them, the company, or their team. Build a culture where the best idea wins: Relegating innovation to the C-suite is the best way to get disrupted.

Great employees have countless options for employment, so your company's growth is heavily predicated on your ability to attract top talent. Twenty-first-century employees can take or leave beer and video games, but ultimately they want to work alongside people they are proud to call teammates. To that end, instead of overinvesting in snacks, invest in a culture where ideas trump experience and where solving for the company and the customer is rewarded over sheer seniority. Doing so will provide a competitive advantage for your company, your customers, and your culture, and ultimately serves as a catalyst for growth.

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Published on: Sep 16, 2014