An opinion piece by Lucy Coleman:
Company or corporate culture are terms that are becoming mainstream in our modern world. It’s not uncommon for these terms to come up in any work-related conversation. But what does company culture really mean and why are so many people talking about it?
Even though it is simple to spot and feel a good company culture when you’re in one, the term remains difficult to specifically define. As simply as possible, company culture reflects all the ways in which employees communicate and carry out business – including the way clients are treated, the way issues are resolved, and what values are ranked highest within the organization. Culture also involves how employees are viewed and treated by upper management. A strong culture in the mind of today’s average millennial would reflect a space where:
- Positive, fun, and productive working relationships can flourish
- Frequent voicing of creative and innovative ideas are valued
- High flexibility in work schedule and time off is available
- Rapid advancement or continued learning opportunities are offered
Company culture revolves around strong values, and more and more companies are investing in ways to create a powerful culture of of their own. But where does a strong and authentic culture really stem from? The answer is the employees themselves. Whether today’s workforce knows it or not, they hold the power of shaping entire organizational environments in the palm of their hands.
Why is this the case? Because according to Pew Research, for the first time in history – millennials make up a majority of the U.S. workforce, with over 54 million of them. As more and more companies realize this, they are quickly reshaping their values in order to attract the best talent within this upcoming and progressive generation.
But here’s what I couldn’t figure out – why are millennials demanding this new type of workplace culture? What reasons or internal drivers are pushing them to redefine the workplace? Are there secret millennial meetups that I wasn’t invited to where the topic of discussion is “The fight to change the way Americans work”?!
No, these secret meetings do not exist (at least to the best of my knowledge) and what is really going on is a product of the environment that people born between 1980 and 2000 grew up in. Generally speaking, these individuals were raised during a time of economic prosperity and didn’t necessarily experience the hardships of widespread and enduring depression as many previous generations have. They were also raised during a period of rapid technological advancement that has moved society forward and expanded work opportunities to new heights.
Subsequently, this has taken the emphasis off of finding job security and has redirected the focus towards seeking job satisfaction. As where one of my grandfather’s biggest life achievements was placing his firefighter’s honorary axe signifying 30 years of service across his fireplace mantle, I personally imagine finishing out my working life with dozens of different career paths under my belt. Although there are is nothing wrong with enticing workers with long-term financial security, the workplace is rapidly changing to recruit those who are instead seeking fulfillment, flexibility, and personal growth.
What does this mean for the future of hiring? It means that a stronger emphasis will be placed on an employee’s values and sociability than ever before. Making it all the more important for job seekers to consider careers that best match with who they truly are.
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