In recent years, millennials have received a bad reputation in corporate environments for being entitled, self-centered, and lazy. When considering the context in which this generation has came of age, it’s easy to see why millennials don’t fit perfectly into the baby boomers’ structured systems.
Growing up with events such as 9/11, the Great Recession, climate change, and Edward Snowden’s disclosure of mass citizen surveillance, these young professionals have many reasons to distrust some existing institutions. For that reason, instead of fitting into traditional workplace norms, millennials are attempting to restructure the world around their ideals of social responsibility.
As such, most millennials can’t be expected to engage fully in businesses that don’t suit their worldview. In fact, millennials and Generation Z are nearly twice as likely as Generation X and baby boomers to disengage at work for one hour or more per day. With this in mind, it’s clear that big changes need to be made when it comes to corporate culture in order to keep the next generation working productively.
Here are five of the ways we can expect organizational cultures to shift in order to fall more in line with the next generation’s values:
1) Flexible Work Options
Millennials often see the 9-5 work week hardwired to a desk as an antiquated and arbitrary standard. In their eyes, when work can be completed from the comfort of a laptop, why does it matter when and where they work?
In fact, one survey found that nearly 80% of millennials would be more loyal to their employer if they were given flexible work options. Furthermore, 70% of millennials said that they have considered leaving a company for another job that offers more flexible work options. These options can include the way work is scheduled (flex hours) as well as where the work takes place (telecommuting).
As technology continues to push forward with new applications that streamline remote work, it’s clear that corporations will soon be holding more meetings in cyberspace than the board room.
2) Increased Transparency
Nearly everything is online these days; from the latest news across the world to the menu at your favorite restaurant. An enormous amount of information can be accessed at the push of a button.
In fact, with the rise of social media, even the intimate thoughts of total strangers are at our disposal. This advancement has particularly strong consequences for corporations when you consider websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Yelp. On these public forums, anybody can read the reviews of disgruntled employees or customers, and this information can influence potential employees when they are conducting a job search.
Companies that do not promote an inclusive corporate culture and a sense of social responsibility will not attract top talent in the future. Organizations should strive for transparency in all areas. Open communication internally and externally will lead to less negative online reviews and hopefully lead to a more balanced view of the organization.
3) Self-Improvement and Career Advancement
Millennials strongly value opportunities to improve the quality of their work. One of the main ways they seek to do this is by receiving feedback on their projects. Having grown up in an era of extreme connectedness, most millennials expect constant reviews from higher-ups. However, only 21% of workers in this generation meet with their manager on a consistent basis.
Going forward, we can expect reliance on annual and biannual performance reviews to become a thing of the past. Instead, managers will send instant messages, schedule quick calls, or make brief meetings each day to provide informal feedback to employees. This will allow for greater transparency and productivity in the workforce as employees learn to course correct in real time.
Another way that millennials look to improve themselves is through career training and development programs. In fact, one survey found that the availability of such programs would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current jobs. Since millennials are known for not valuing company loyalty, providing pathways for advancement will be a crucial way to retain talent in the future.
4) Work-Life Balance
Millenials are acutely aware of the wide reaching effects of stress on emotional and physical health. With that in mind, it’s clear why many in this generation would forgo a promotion, or be willing to move in order to better manage work-life demands.
This work-life balance can be fulfilled in many ways such as improving corporate wellness practices and programs, offering flexible vacation policies, and providing paid parental leave. Other ways to reduce work related stress inlcude promoting team-building exercises, offering childcare services, and hosting office outings. It’s clear that programs such as these will be a staple in the corporate cultures of the future.
5) Diversity and Inclusion
Growing up in an increasingly connected global community, millennials are the generation most interested in different nations, cultures, ideas, and beliefs. One survey found that millennials and Gen Z workers were more likely to stay five more years at a company with a diverse workforce and senior management team than an organization that isn’t diverse.
Many companies are making this a priority. We can expect diversity and inclusion initiatives to expand at the domestic level while companies simultaneously branch out to work with global partners..
The Corporate Culture of the Future
Millennials and the Gen Z generation are driving cultural and organizational change in the workplace. .With stronger allignment to technology and the commitment to building relationships with employees and the world around them, businesses will ultimately be able to face disruption with greater ease. Implementing these changes may require a change of mindset, but should be met with enthusiasm for the opportunities that lie ahead for companies that meet the challenge.