I was having dinner with a few friends just the other night when suddenly the question came up: “What's it like working there?" One of my friends had recently taken on a new management role at a mid-sized technology company, and was excited to share her new found good fortune. She seemed genuinely happy and said that: “For the first time in years I feel reinvigorated and actually look forward to going to work!" Her answer surprised me, partly because she's always been known as a workhorse.
I'd never known her to be anything short of pumped for all things work-related, and at times I even wondered if she was a workaholic. After all this is a woman who would answer her mobile phone while at family and sporting events for work-related issues, never disconnected from her job. Maybe it's because work ethic is deeply ingrained in the American way of life. It's a core part of our culture. But she seemed energized while talking about the company culture at her new company.
Food for thought
Culture starts with leadership. Culture and values provide the foundation upon which everything else is built. Either way company culture determines whether or not people want to work for one company versus another, and is also what drives good employees away. The 2016 Deloitte Millennials Survey revealed that those staying at their companies for a minimum of five years are more likely to report a favorable culture than others.
Also included in the study is--if given a choice--one in four millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to start something different. That figure climbs to 44 percent when the time frame is expanded to two years.
By the end of 2020, two of every three respondents hope to have moved on, leaving only 16 percent of millennials who still see themselves with their current employers after 10 years.
Company culture matters to millennials
Millennials, numbering over 66 million, make up 32 percent of the labor force (compared to 31.2 percent for Generation X workers, and 30.6 percent for Boomers). They now own the largest share of the U.S. labor market.
The leaders of tomorrow have become the leaders of today.
They are highly educated, display greater diversity than older generations: 44.2 percent are classified as being in a minority group (belonging to a group other than non-Hispanic white).
Many millennials entered the workforce with high student loan debt, poor employment prospects (due to the Great Recession), and it becomes increasingly clear that a sizable portion of the Millennial generation started out with considerable disadvantages. It should come as no surprise that millennials have little choice but to wait longer before purchasing cars and getting approved for mortgages.
Because of this many millennials endure deferred dreams and perhaps expect to be treated well, not necessarily in a strictly monetary sense, but rather show appreciation in other ways:
-Start Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs), for student loans.
-Offer parking subsidy cash-out benefits for employees who carpool or take public transportation to work.
-Offer housing assistance programs (commonly offered to top executives), which might work towards attracting and retaining good employees at all levels.
Implementing workplace policies that benefit workers and help to boost employee retention is good business sense because it can lead to significant cost savings to employers. Across jobs, the cost of replacing an employee is clustered between 10 percent and 30 percent of an employee's salary. One notable exception would be losing executives and physicians-jobs that require very specific skills and training-tend to have disproportionately high turnover costs as a percentage of salary (up to 213 percent).
The realization that much of the conventional wisdom about millennials is based on misconceptions can allow companies to tailor their human capital strategies to the new realities of the workforce.
A focus on experience
Nina McQueen, Vice President, Global Benefits: Redefining the Employee Experience, at LinkedIn, is convinced that LinkedIn has the recipe for company culture. She details her experience of how incredible the culture was, when she joined LinkedIn back in September 2013, and how relevant company culture is personally and for the company's bottom line in her article, titled: “Culture Champions, creating transformative experiences." McQueen writes that: “There is no secret recipe. Culture is about your leadership, the products you develop and your company values. It is unique to each company."
She goes on to say that if you're at a dinner party and the person seated next to you asks-what is it like to work at your company?-what you say in that moment defines the culture of your company. It's unscripted, not something written on a powerpoint, not a slogan on the wall. But it is what you are experiencing as an employee.
Much like McQueen, my friend has impressed upon me her newfound happiness with her new employer...Do you feel the same about your employer?
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!