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Millennials Seek Shift in Workplace Culture

Posted By Peter Ptashko, Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN), Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 11, 2017

Today GSEN: the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network is delighted to launch the next blog in its 'Summer of Talent' series.

Rafael Achondo is founder at 'Matteria' and writes on how to manage a new generation of human capital eager for purpose and culture in the workplace. 

Considering the ambition and volatility of this growing workforce, attracting and retaining the best talent will depend on the ability of management to build teams with shared values and beliefs.

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 66 percent of professionals between 25 and 35 years old are considering leaving their current jobs before 2020; 13 percent will leave in the next 6 months. A symptom of the disconnect between employers and employees is the perception that a search for work- life balance indicates a lack of interest in the job, or that impatience for advancement comes from arrogance and hubris. There are misunderstandings between managers and millennial workers because the workforce is changing, while the workplace is not.

The LinkedIn Job Switchers Global Report 2015 shows that the number of active job seekers has increased by 36 percent in the last four years, and that 34 percent of these ‘job switchers’ are expected to move not only to a new employer but into different industries and positions altogether. Yes, they want to be elsewhere, doing and learning something different. “Why should I keep working in the banking sector if I can also work in the energy, IT, or retail industries?” “Why should I learn only from finance if my skills allow me to gain knowledge in marketing, logistics or human capital management?”

Managers might wonder: “Why do our employees have this insatiable curiosity, flexibility and ambition?”

The answer is simple: because they can. We are dealing with young professionals who descend from the generation with the greatest purchasing power in history, the offspring of abundance and citizens of an increasingly connected global village, less ideological, modern and tolerant to diversity, and with access to inexhaustible sources of information, every day more democratized. This context empowers them to believe that they can achieve more: 77 percent of young professionals feel partially or absolutely in control of their professional future and 81 percent are willing to travel anywhere in the world in order to find a job to fulfil their expectations, according to 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey.

The main challenge today is to see this labor turnover as a real trend that gives organizations the opportunity to develop management strategies that really add value to human capital and to every person on a team. To use millennials’ ambition and diversity to bolster an organization’s vision and fulfill its purpose of doing business.

What kind of organizations have taken advantage of this ’problem‘? Those who appreciate this new generation and their drive, both individual and collective, those who understand their personal quest for purpose, and even further those who value their aspiration to belong to a culture and a community. Purpose and culture are the current and future keys to managing the most important asset any organization could have: human capital.


Millennials take pride in contributing to something that really matters. Well-educated and with no shortage of opportunities, their ambitions go beyond job security or earning a large salary with benefits. Employment is not only about making enough money to enjoy leisure activities in one’s free time. Another key factor to happiness is personal fulfilment and self-esteem within work. This evolved perspective includes a society where individual behavior has consequences and in which each person contributes to the greater good. Millennials want their employers to be in tune with this world, the world they want to build, regardless of the product, service, or industry in which they operate.

Beyond purpose, millennials also have the human need to communicate and interact with others around a collective welfare goal. Young professionals are inspired more by causes rather than ideologies, by
convictions rather than religious beliefs. Many of these individuals have little confidence in current political establishments and economic systems that breed inequality, which is why they want to be part of organizational cultures that break these paradigms and solve these challenges. They are eager to be a part of work teams with values, behaviors, language, beliefs, and power structures that positively impact their lives and the lives of others. They seek a different, more holistic way of doing business.

The following strategies can help organizations create an environment that will attract and retain young professionals:

  • Generate a vision and culture that Millennials want to see reflected in society
  • Create collaborative environments
  • Encourage leadership that empowers individuals, providing opportunities both for innovation as
    well as failure
  • Manage global, multi-disciplinary teams and innovative projects where employees can contribute
    their talents and fulfil roles that enable them to grow and advance
  • Equip teams to work on common goals towards a better society
  • Measure performance by goals achieved rather than hours in the office

Most importantly, an employer’s invitation to future employees should not only be to fill a position, but to enter an open space where they can learn and become the best version of themselves, both personally and professionally.

What if after all this effort employees still leave the organization? While these strategies should help turnover rates to decrease, human capital management goals should target each professional passing through an organization individually. Investment in the talent of your employees will make a difference in the problems they might solve and the impact they create in the future. Equipping employees to become change makers will benefit society, even if that benefit is created with another organization. When young professionals have been proud to be part of a team, they will take the culture and values to other causes and organizations.

The trends are evident and growing. Society is evolving and with it the aspirations and demands of the new generation of professionals. The organizations that take risks and innovate in this area will attract and retain the best talent. To achieve this we will need leaders who not only understand sustainability\ as a competitive strategy, but who also adapt their management to develop professionals for a new
economy, focused on economic, social and environmental positive impact. Understanding this will allow leaders to become real cultural contributors, as they promote in their employees and teams the same positive values we want to see in society.


About Rafael Achondo

Founder at Matteria. Co-Founder and former CEO at Pegas con Sentido Chile. Former
Executive Director of Development at TECHO (Un Techo para mi País). Co-Founder and former CEO at TECHO U.S.
Twitter: @rafoachondo

 

Tags:  ANDE Members  social entrepreneurship 

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