Monthly Archives: December 2017

3 Components of Work Culture

Employees are moving on from companies because the employer’s work culture no longer fits their needs. I’m surprised when I ask small business owners about their work culture by how different their perspective is from that of their employees.

As we see daily in the news, the evolution of culture of a workplace is changing rapidly with executives being called to defend habits and behaviors from years ago. In other words, work cultures will be a hot topic in the coming year and business owners can suffer greatly if they are not in tune with what real work culture exists in their organization.

I advise all business executives to take the time to truly understand how their culture functions in the workplace. Truly explore each of the following three segments:

The stated components

Most companies have a stated list of core values, mission and documented beliefs that they say rules the functions within the organization. Frequently, these are left over ideas from a previous era of work and should be regularly revisited to see if they are still in line with the needs of the workplace and the customers. As workplace issues evolve, customer expectations shift, and employee beliefs change, companies are responsible for adjusting their work culture expectations and policies accordingly.

The unstated components

The stated components are supposed to guide the workplace culture, but the unstated components are the actual, day-to-day functioning of a work culture. Underlying assumptions, rituals, acceptable office humor, and leadership behaviors are truly shaping the work culture of your business, regardless of stated guidelines. Ask yourself, do the actions of leadership match the intent of the stated expectations of your work culture? The disconnect here will become a much bigger deal as employee lawsuits and big stories such as NBC and the Weinstein Company bring this issue to a greater light. Get to know the unstated norms within your work culture.

The atmosphere

The Old Boys Club attitude hasn’t fit the workplace for decades, yet it still thrives in many organizations. What is the attitude and feel within your business?  Do people feel comfortable working together and with their managers, or is there a palpable toxicity in those relationships? If people struggle to work together or feel intimidated by management, these are indications your culture is broken. An exodus of quality employees, low morale, and high stress are not going to improve any business. Take the time to truly explore your real work culture before you are facing leaked reports, employee lawsuits or a damaged reputation where no one wants to work within your organization.

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Retaining Millennials

For most managers, this is proving to be a complicated generation of workers to understand and retain in the workplace. In fact, 68% of Millennials surveyed say the longest they will stay at the same employer is 3 years. Surprisingly, today the average U.S. worker spends just 15 months in one role in today’s working environment. Retaining millennials is a significant issue facing businesses today.

The generation that desired employment with the same employer for the entirety of their working careers is left dumbfounded by this constant need for change and mobility. To better understand how to retain workers (for as long as they are willing to stay), wrap your mind around these three ideas that speak to Millennial retention.

A good fit

Every company has their work culture. Forget quoting the core values, I’m talking about the reality of how work is conducted within your business. Certain personality traits fit that culture and some personality traits will not. Identify the traits that keep your long-term employees on your team and hire to match those traits.

This is the time to be honest. I had a client tell me the reason his long-term people stayed was because they loved working as a team there, when in fact, the reason they stayed was because none of them were interested in moving up (since there was nowhere to go) and were comfortable with the routines they had developed.

If you are looking for go-getters and driven employees to be working in this environment, think again. This isn’t a good fit for that personality. Know your culture and know who fits that culture. Want to change your culture? That begins with leadership, and that is another article entirely!

A job that matters

74% of Millennial job seekers want a job that feels meaningful and makes a difference. Does your company make a difference in the community? Do your new employees get the opportunity to meaningfully interact with customers? These are job characteristics that rank high in job satisfaction. Millennials are three times more likely to stay with the same company if they feel fulfilled as a person while working.

Develop me

87% of Millennials expect managers to develop them personally. Without a clear path of professional development for the individual, the retention of Millennials will stay low for employers not willing to make this a priority.

This is not the “start at the bottom, pay your dues and work your way up the ladder” development old-school managers experienced in their youth. This is a clearly defined program to grow and develop skills for not-too-distant future opportunities.

To build your workforce with the newest and largest generation of workers, make sure they fit your culture, give them a job that makes a difference, and develop them and encourage them to build their careers.

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