A Strong Culture is Key to Attract, Engage and Retain Talented Millennials

Company culture is the collective behaviors that are rewarded, ignored or discouraged. One can also look at who is hired, fired and promoted, and why, for more clues. If you are a new to a company and want to be successful, you would follow the cultural norms, whether deliberately or intuitively.  

Leaders who are part of the growing sentiment who feel company culture has an important role in attracting, motivating and retaining talented productive employees (and therefore profitability), know that developing a culture strategy is key.  

There are many complex processes to address culture. We could get textbook-y and look at Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs Theory, for one, but essentially, if employees feel a culture of safety, they will be most motivated and productive. Fear is enemy number one of a positive culture. One could watch behaviors and start there.


But how to know what changes night be needed?

Other than observing values and habits, which can be a bit fuzzy, one could dive deeper with targeted questions. Millennials are super-sensitive to company culture and can provide valuable input when evaluating culture strategy to counter high turnover, low motivation or low retention rates. They are now the largest generation in the workforce, with newer mindsets and ideals so they are the canaries in the culture coal mine. They can provide some good culture intel since their expectations* are beginning to transform work cultures as they move into management positions.

Although asking employees what they think will be helpful, an internal probe won’t always uncover the most candor about work issues.  A third party facilitated program of focus groups, interviews and surveys, based on trust and safe listening, can uncover more helpful insights. Maximizing Millennial’s neutral program can deliver forthright feedback.

*There are many reasons expectations and corporate reality don’t square for the Millennial generation. Their educational experience has been significantly different than that of the older generations. For Millennials, group collaboration was encouraged, and debate and discussion formats defined many classes and projects. This work style can be at odds with some of the older generations who were taught to do their own individual research, find their own facts, and studying or working in teams was not as prevalent. This educational difference spills over to the workplace and can cause tension with the differing work styles.