Work culture is changing. We are no longer in Manhattan in 1985. Teamwork is in, dog-eat-dog style is out. Typewriters are in the landfill while faster and user-friendly laptops are carried around like a notebook. Even the once high-status blackberry has gone by the wayside of whatever the latest smartphone version was just released.
Today, corporate jargon, ideas about job security, and even the archaic hierarchy of corporate America is changing. Today, the best companies create a workforce who cares and works with purpose. The changes we’ve made have been for the better and have transformed nearly every industry in the country.
Look how far we’ve come:
In the 1970s – 1990s: You came to work in a cubicle or a c-suite if you were lucky. You were encouraged to work independently and avoid chatting, talking, or congregating with your coworkers. The goal was to clock in on time, stay focused, and clock out at the end of the day. Your office phone still had a cord and if you were editing a document it was with a red pen on your desk. Oh, and there was no such thing as Google.
2000 – 2010: The workplace completely changed with the onslaught of the internet. Suddenly, the mountain of paperwork was replaced with flash drives and document files. Electronic papers took over the endless printer stream and the possibilities expanded almost overnight. During this same time, the office culture remained somewhat the same – although social media started finding a place in growing the business and more teamwork benefits were seen across many industries. Cubicles were replaced with a more open-concept office and the hierarchy was starting to be replaced with a more collaborative feel in the office.
2010 – Today: Today we can work anywhere and everywhere. Conference calls can be done at the beach, document management can be finished on the road, and you can communicate with an international team in minutes. In many ways, the days of the top down, directive approach are completely gone. Our teams are not just our coworkers but an entire social network of strangers across the world. We can work with an international team at the same time, connecting around the world in minutes. Work itself is done faster, and results are more immediate than ever before.
The Employee-Driven Market
Perhaps the biggest change is the shift from it being an employer-driver market to an employee-driven market. Today’s employees aren’t satisfied by clocking in and clocking out. They aren’t OK working in isolation or under the thumb of an oppressive boss, simply to keep their job.
Today’s job seekers have more options, giving them more leverage in terms of what they can expect of their company. There are more opportunities than ever before and if they aren’t happy in their job, they aren’t afraid to leave and find another one. For employers, this makes finding and maintaining the top talent is harder than ever.
How can I keep up?
It’s about keeping up with the changing workforce and going the extra mile for your employees. It’s about caring for them as people and as a whole team rather than caring only about the bottom line or the production numbers. Here are 10 ways you can go the extra mile for your team and create a company culture that is sustainable long term:
Allowing more flexibility for your employees is the number one request for job seekers today. In the past, remote work was only used occasionally and reserved for special situations or entrepreneurs. Today, this idea of freedom is such an important piece of where we are going at work.
- Expand your team
If you’re not afraid of embracing remote working, your team can now expand to include people outside your geographic area. This allows you to literally hack into a global pool of knowledge workers to build the team you actually need.
- Use Smart Tools
Nothing will replace an old-fashioned phone call or standard email. However, other instant communication methods, like Slack, Skype, and Microsoft Teams allow your business to move faster, communicate instantly communication is necessary for all members of the team.
- Offer more than a paycheck.
Shifting to view each employee as an individual with specific needs and supporting those needs is important. This may be simple things like an opportunity to meet with a therapist or counselor, free yoga classes or nutrition help. It could be other things like lunch on site, benefits for the family, holiday perks, etc. People want to know that they’re valued as a human and individual.
- Do Good.
Going to work every morning is no longer simply an economic transaction. Employees increasingly want to work for organizations that are working to better society. The ability to find meaning in their work is a vital ingredient to the overall happiness of 93% of workers.
- Take Health Seriously.
Today we are starting to see more awareness now to the effects of employers who churn and burn through people. The physical effects of endless stress and a poor working environment are clearer now than ever before. A company who takes both mental and physical health seriously are investing in their people on an individual level.
- Have Fun.
At the end of each work day, thriving, happy employees are better employees. They are more engaged in their work, are more loyal to their employers, and more meaningfully contribute to their organizations’ goals. Unique benefits that deliver more fun to your employees and their families can go a long way to bring the joy back to the workplace.
- Provide a Sense of Purpose
Then there is the whole “sense of purpose” thing that dominates workplace conversations daily. Is finding a sense of purpose a pie-in-the-sky ideal or is it actually achievable? And, regardless of the answer, how much of a priority is it for today’s workers? As employees define themselves more holistically through their work and life, they seek purpose on the job and at home.
- Show them their value
There are several things you can do to make employees feel valued and appreciated. Recognizing employee achievements with rewards or additional benefits. Soliciting feedback, providing valuable experiences, investing in them as individuals and in their families, giving development opportunities and exposure to leadership are all valuable options.
We live in a constantly changing world. Going the extra mile to help your employees survive and thrive allows them recharge and meet the challenge ahead. Embrace a workforce where you favor the worker, invest in your people, and go above and beyond for the individuals that work in your office. Companies that want to rise to the top support both the professional and personal needs of their people. Doing so will set you above the rest and ensure you have the pick of the best talent in your industry.