Think back to a typical office in the United States during the last 20 years and what do you visualize? A majority of employees in business attire working in cubicles or dark offices with a desktop computer and a palpable sense of stress and anxiety swirling around them. There was less collaboration and a lot of time spent on formalities and protocol. These are outdated hallmarks of American industry that are no longer conducive to modern productivity.
The era of the millennial professional is upon us and too often I hear about the lack of respect and entitlement attitudes that others observe of this generation. Perhaps it’s the business leaders of the world that need to wake up and embrace change. I believe we need to meet in the middle to help the new generation understand how to be effective in growing a business while also understanding how the new work environment should be more enjoyable and collaborative. It truly can be both work and play together to get a much better combined outcome than either extreme.
One roadblock to creating a positive work environment is that companies are making a point to improve diversity within their organization for public perception or to appease shareholders, but fail to offer a workplace culture tailored for a diverse workforce. They don’t realize improvements in hiring and promotion need to be equally balanced with an inclusive and empowering workplace environment.
The reason that our organization has been so successful in maintaining a diverse workforce and empowering culture is because we haven’t needed to force programs to improve diversity. Women traditionally have made up half of our executive team and we take a bottom-up approach to both work-related brainstorming and in organizing fun events and volunteer opportunities. Each and every member of our team is respected, and their ideas are celebrated.
There is no magic formula to create a positive culture. The culture simply needs to be genuinely inclusive and embrace each individual, no matter what their background is. Employees of any race, gender or age need to be valued and feel that leadership is listening. If organizations can focus on this, they will learn that a diverse workforce becomes an outstanding atmosphere for great ideas, new perspectives and great productivity.