What’s trending now?
For some time now reports and research have shown that Millennials are changing not only the face of the workplace but are also the driving force behind transforming the way companies engage with their employees.
In a recent ‘Millennial Branding’ report results show that 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay, according to Kate Taylor in ‘Why Millenials are ending the 9-to-5’.
Taylor also explains that Millennials are seeking work with a greater purpose. A large degree of personal fulfillment and meaningful connections at work is what makes them most productive and entices them to stick with a particular company.
Why It’s Important
Companies that are answering to these desires by the new workforce are seeing far greater pay offs than those who still function under a typical ‘9-5-cubicle’ type framework. Companies that produce innovation share three main characteristics according to John Seely Brown, co-chair at the Deloitte Center for the Edge and former chief scientist at Xerox. Revolutionary and inventive companies all have visionary leadership, organizational commitment to break through thinking and work space that supports innovation.
American based online careers community glassdoor.com, recently released its third annual list of ‘Top 25 Companies for Work-Life Balance’. Companies who made the list offer family friendly environments, ease of access to food and fitness amenities and support of work-life balance from senior leadership.
Ernst and Young’s (named best accounting firm to work for by Forbes magazine) UK deputy CEO Lynn Rattigan, states that their ‘innovative approach’ towards working hours simply makes sense in a global working environment. Employees might be expected to attend a conference call at 5am with a client across the globe, where it is 5 in the afternoon. It is precisely these types of work demands that require flexibility and creativity from employers.
A Harvard Business review study shows that customer satisfaction and increased revenue is directly related to employee satisfaction, an ethos that online shoe retailer Zappos.com place at the forefront of their success. ‘Our number one priority is employee culture, not customer service’, says Aaron Magness, who works in business development for the Las Vegas–based company, which posted sales of $1 billion in 2008.
The idea of keeping employees satisfied, stimulated and healthy is the driving force behind companies like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Skype’s unconventional office space and corporate culture. Skype has a pool room, YouTube an indoor slide and Google a hair salon. Twitter boasts a rooftop garden and Patagonia, a California based outdoor clothing and equipment company, encourages their workers to go surfing in the middle of the day as well as offer onsite volleyball courts and yoga classes. The idea that workers in progressive companies ‘work smarter not harder’ is one that Facebook implements and believes boosts the ‘work-life merge’ where work life and free time are no longer compartmentalized but seamlessly flow together.
For KPMG Australia, flexible office space has yielded great results as the pilot project dedicated half a floor to a new way of working known as ABW (activity based working). This new way of working embraces greater flexibility and employees are not allocated a desk but work on mobile devices and sit wherever their activity for that day, or part of that day, is taking place.
Woods Bagot a Sydney based design firm states that ‘even banks are trying to bring more life into their buildings’ and that this usually structured and conventional institutions in Australia are now ‘trying to base themselves in buildings that responds to the community and reflect the people they represent’.
Other ways in which companies are providing this happy quotient for employees are no official working hours, support for families (Facebook offers both moms and dads paid parental leave, reimbursement for day care and some extra cash when a new baby is born) and onsite health and wellness services.
What’s the Butterfly Effect?
Companies will have to consider and introduce creative office space, inventive corporate culture and distinctive perks if they wish to remain relevant and appealing to the Millennial job seekers.
With Millennials being the next generation top managers and the ever-changing demand of customers and clients alike, companies will have to address and answer to these needs by adopting different attitudes to working environments.
Harnessing employee creativity has meant some companies offer programs that give employees time to work on their own projects, acting as incubators and providing specific training that ultimately benefits the company as well as the individual.
Even though employee loyalty may be growing obsolete for Millennials, states Leonid Bershidsky, companies should still invest in this growing trend of employee satisfaction, as business performance and increased revenue is proof that when employees are happy, top management and company bank accounts, are happy too.
Cubicle culture is fast being transformed into a much more dynamic and explorative state. Where work is becoming a part of a lifestyle rather than just a way of earning one’s salary every month.
Elizebeth is an emerging writer who has worked in various creative fields both here and abroad. She is a passionate trend spotter who continues to seek out new and innovative thoughts and threads.
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