The world is changing, or rather, it’s already changed! This includes workplace operations and culture! As more and more millennials enter the workforce and more and more baby boomers retire, the face of business is rapidly evolving.
Some say these changes are for the better, others contend that notion. Though, that’s not the point of this blog. I happen to work in a progressive environment and as a direct result, I’ve never made more money (commission-based comp for recruiters), I’ve never been happier, and I’ve never learned more from any other employer!
I came across blog that caught my eye (imitation is the most sincere form of flattery) that inspired my own blog. Written by a millennial, Chelsi Stenger talks about the stark difference between “boring” and “creative” organizations.
“With technology fueling the revolution of innovation and creativity, businesses are beginning to understand the importance of encouraging a creative culture among their employees”. – Chelsi
Chelsi is daring businesses to be different; to break the mold that’s had a stronghold on U.S. business culture for the past 50 years.
She lists “boring” companies as those that isolate their employees, innovate based solely on data and the infamous bottom line, requiring strict time constraints (idea of quantity of work versus quality of work), and not allowing for mistakes.
I think she’s pretty well on point. What Chelsi is describing is what I call an “old school” culture that only acknowledges employees by the number of hours they log each week versus their meaningful contribution to the company. These environments are often hard to work and flourish in as well. Think of wearing a tight-laced suit for 40+ hours/week. Think of how stuffy, suffocating, and annoying that is. If you keep a company culture so strict you’ll snuff out the fire in most of your employees. Let’s face it; we all spend more waking hours at work than we do with our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, families, buddies and pets. If you can’t be reasonably comfortable at work it’s stifling.
Conversely, Chelsi offers her advice for what can make your company creative. She encourages everyone to participate in being a positive influence, take a lot of notes (note-taking allows you to collect information and make visual connections to spark ideas). encourage one another, and collaborate.
I would add to that list: Lead by example, give respect, establish incentives (even if it’s just a pair of movie tickets), set a precedent for excellence and then let your employees go with it! Not all workers can thrive in an innovative, hands-off culture, but those who do need little guidance. They need to be given a goal and a deadline and that’s it!
Resist your urge as a manager or owner to nit-pick. No one will work exactly the way you do. Also, as a manager resist the urge to track hours (unless someone is grossly taking advantage) and stifle lite water-cooler talk. Some of your hardest working employees will be your most outgoing employees. If they’re not allowed to take brief breaks throughout the day to engage with a co-worker it adds a new layer of stress to the equation.
I respect Chelsi’s idealistic blog. I think we can all agree that 95% of U.S. companies will ever operate exactly as she’s recommending. BUT, if we remain conscious of her recommendations we’ll be making major strides toward a workplace that fosters innovation and excellence!