Have you ever heard someone in your office say, “Oh, those Millennials…” and fill in the blank with a comment about how things look different today than they did in the past?
It’s a common refrain, and a little silly if you think about it.
We know that times change and life changes, so why would work not change as well?
Over the past several years, we have seen a major shift in the mindset in which people approach work. I discuss this topic in my book Work That Works in Principle #6: Let Your People Live to Work, Not Work to Live.
Much of the change we have seen is generational. Gen X and Millennials tend to prioritize work-life balance and flexibility more than their baby boomer counterparts. Millennials search for opportunities to engage in purpose-driven work more than previous generations.
With this demographic shift, companies can no longer solely focus on profitability. Now, they must consider engaging employees and building a compelling vision for both their staff and company to be successful.
While age differences often get the most attention, the shift is not purely generational. In a research study by Glassdoor and the Harvard Business Review across age demographics, the top reasons why any employee leaves a company include:
- Feeling stagnate in their current role
Human Resources and Learning & Development professionals would also point to today’s candidate-driven job market as a reason for the shift. According to ERE Recruiting, the candidate focus means companies need to work harder to demonstrate that they offer an engaging culture with meaningful work where employees can grow.
There is also a business reason to focus on culture. According to the global management consulting firm Hay Group, engaged workforces are 40 percent more productive than those who are not engaged. And Gallup reports that higher workplace engagement leads to 37 percent lower absenteeism, 41 fewer safety incidents and 41 percent fewer quality defects.
It is evident that employee engagement supports successful businesses, and while many companies and managers focus on how to appeal to different generations, it does not have to be so complex.
There are some tactics that appeal across generations.
According to the Harvard Business Review, when people stay in their jobs, they found their work 31 percent more enjoyable more often and used their strengths 33 percent more often.
So, how do we create a compelling culture where your employees can leverage their strengths?
Engage Through the Profile
Let’s start with the Emergenetics Profile, which reveals individual thinking and behavioral preferences. This knowledge allows you to do two things:
- Identify your employees’ strengths and interests.
- Better understand how to communicate with your employees.
When you know your employees’ preferences, you can include them in work that will interest them and use their strengths. For example, if a team member has a Conceptual preference, you may invite them to brainstorm new ideas to solve a business challenge.
If an employee has Structural preferences, you may ask them to help build a process to streamline an inefficient way of doing things.
The Profile also illuminates how best to communicate with your employees.
No matter what generation you come from, everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. By using an individual’s preferences as a guide for how you interact and communicate with them, you demonstrate that you honor their unique perspectives.
Additionally, by using the Profile in building your company culture, you base your engagement strategies less on perks that may not appeal to every generation and more on behavioral and thinking preferences that are common across all ages.
Build Your Team with the Emergenetics Selection Program
Now, let’s consider our hiring assessment, ESP, which measures workplace motivations and skills, as compared to a particular role. If you incorporate this tool into your hiring practices, you can better understand how a person will likely perform on the job.
For example, let’s say that you are hiring for a role that requires a great deal of communication. Using ESP, you can assess your candidates to see who enjoys being expressive and outgoing, among other traits.
This knowledge helps you make better hiring decisions by ensuring that your new hire is going to be in a role that is interesting to them and where they can excel in.
When we focus on building a culture where employees can use their strengths and engage them in work they enjoy – rather than generational divides or perks – we begin to see a real shift in engagement.
I invite you to consider how your culture and benefits appeal across generations and set your employees up for success and engagement.