It’s no secret that organisational culture can make or break an organisation’s performance. However, culture is by no means a “set and forget” strategy. A great organisational culture now might not necessarily be a great one in five or ten years’ time – especially given the changing demographic composition of the Australian workforce. Forbes reports that by 2020, millennials will make up nearly half of the workforce, and they bring with them different organisational culture expectations.
Born in the years between 1980 and 2000, millennials are digital natives with a heightened awareness of social issues. Goldman Sachs reports millennials prioritise health and wellness more so than any other generation, and their desire for a balanced lifestyle seeps into their workplace habits. A Fidelity Investments survey of US Millennials revealed that on average millennials were willing to give up $7,600 per annum in salary for a better workplace situation, including enhanced work life balance, positive workplace culture, and perks such as fitness centres and social events. In order to stay relevant to these changing demands, an organisation must be able to cater for a generationally diverse workforce, including developing a culture that helps to attract and retain millennials.
A flexible working culture
According to a Deloitte Survey, work life balance is the most highly valued job characteristic for millennials. Aside from working a reasonable amount of hours, work life balance also encompasses flexible working arrangements and the ability to work remotely. Being able to work from home when needed is an important component of flexibility that is becoming increasingly viable with technological advancements. And while it is important to have these technologies and systems in place, it is also important to create a culture where employees feel comfortable to take advantage of them. There is little point investing in work-from-home technology if the practice is not widely accepted by employees and encouraged by management. Work life balance is not only important for motivation and productivity, but given the importance millennials ascribe to it, work life balance can be powerful in attracting younger employees.
Collaboration, not competition
The American Business Women Association reports that 88% of millennials prefer working in an organisation that prioritises employee collaboration over competition between employees. This environment doesn’t just appeal to millennial workers, but also fosters greater creativity and workforce productivity. Teams are highly effective at creating a high performance workplace when there is shared vision and accountability for outcomes – an effective team does not compete within itself and blame other members for negative results. Creating a collaborative culture however, is more than just working in teams. Collaborative cultures optimise the organisations’ capabilities by encouraging work across different departments and business units while allowing employees to develop strong networks throughout the organisation. Developing such a culture therefore not only attracts and retains millennial employees but fosters a high performance culture across the whole organisation.
Ensuring organisational culture is relevant to the demands of the changing workforce is an important factor in creating a productive and happy workplace.