Your American dream may not be the same as your grandparents! One of the biggest differences is is how younger generations see their role in the workplace and the things that matter to them.
With so much talk about the”millennial generation” (those born between 1980 and 2000) it’s no wonder that businesses are taking notice and adjusting the way they do things. Millennials make up 25% of the U.S. population and they hold 21% of the current buying power. This number is only growing as more and more millennials enter and contribute the work force.
Businesses are clamoring to become and remain relevant with the desires of the younger generation, but older generations are changing too. The way people want to work and the old model of keeping employees happy is a thing of the past.
So what can you do to ensure that you’re maintaining employee engagement and helping your company create a culture that people actually want to be a part of?
Foster Cognitive Diversity And Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are not new topics in corporate America, but the way they are viewed certainly has changed over the years.
The old way of looking at diversity just as someone’s race, religion, gender or sexual orientation doesn’t paint the whole picture anymore.
True diversity comes from acknowledging, accepting and seeking out the opinions and participation from people with an array of different experiences and backgrounds, which are often not visible on the surface but must be uncovered by getting to know the people in your organization.
Would someone who was homeschooled or grew up in poverty or speaks multiple different languages potentially bring a different perspective to your office? Heck yes! But how would you know that they offer a unique set of diverse experiences and potentially a different way of thinking without getting to know them?
This is where corporate needs to get less corporate and begin to source participation and inclusion from a variety of people based on both visible diversity and cognitive diversity. The only way to do this is by getting to know people’s story and including more than just the “go-to” people when collaborating on projects.
Give Real Feedback
Businesses and Organizations need to stop the insanity of “evaluating” people behind closed doors and neglecting to give honest and direct feedback to their faces.
The newer generation of workers site honest feedback as high on the priority list of a company they would want to work for. And it goes beyond the old model of just a supervisor giving the subordinate the feedback. In a new more friendly corporate world feedback is shared across the organization from peer to peer, from subordinate up to supervisor and across different business units.
Up-and-comers view differences of opinion and direct feedback as strengths within a team and an overall advantage to improving collaboration. So invite the new girl to the table as frequently as the old reliable and ask for participation from those on the fast track as much as those that are still finding their way.
Work Life Balance Matters...A Lot
You can support your organization's evolution from old school corporate to new school dream company by understanding that people’s lives matter outside of the office more than ever and they are less afraid to prove that through the choices they make at the office.
Placing a high priority on where employees can work, the hours they can work, and how their personal life fits into the work they do will ensure that your organization remains relevant and competitive in the market.
Lead by example here and support those in your organization that are getting work-life balance right because in the not so distant future it will be the only way to do things, period.
Moral Causes Are A Must
According to a study conducted by Cone Communications, 70% of millennials said they would spend more on brands that have a social cause. Wow! If that is not reason enough to ensure your organization is involved in moral causes then how about a few more…
Millennials are not the only ones who are over soulless corporate machines. It’s been reported that organizations who participate in corporate social responsibility realize, a more positive workplace, increased creativity, more rapid personal and professional growth among employees, higher levels of volunteer participation, higher levels of engagement and less turnover across all demographics. Whoa!
If your company is missing the boat on this, speak up. It’s one of the most powerful ways your voice can make a difference in your organization and your community.
As the workplace evolves, workers and consumers will continue to look for a “corporate” that’s less “corporate”. This concept applies to organizations of all types and sizes. The amazing news is that everyone shares in the creation of their companies culture and has a role to play in ensuring the future is bright for years to come.
Thanks for reading!