If you think GenZs are Entitled Snowflakes, You’re an Idiot!

I made this joke on Twitter recently:

This has been a frustration of so many of my peers in Human Resources over the past couple of years. We have leaders, usually Gen X or Boomers, who think anyone younger than them are called “Millennials”. It’s uninformed at best, and just a bad look for leaders in our organizations.

The crazy part is it’s not just about getting the generational names correct, it’s also about how we tag a generation. I’m not a fan of “generational” training programs, but they are hugely popular. I get requests to come and talk about generational differences to organizations monthly, and I’ve never spoken about generational differences!

For some reason, we are fascinated by the concept of having multiple generations working together in the workplace. We want to know all the broad differences between the generations, knowing as soon as we throw out one of those stereotypes, we immediately look like idiots.

I’m particularly triggered by older leaders who feel Gen Z’s are just a bunch of kids you are entitled snowflakes on their phone all of the time. I’m this way because I have three Gen Z sons and see who they, and their friends, are becoming and in so many ways they will outshine my Gen X generation over the same period of time, by a mile!

CNN did an article highlighting four GenZs who are doing amazing things:

  • One is teaching swimming to people with disabilities.
  • One started a movement to cheer up kids going through difficult times.
  • One is helping Vets in need.
  • One is making and delivering “Blessing Bags” for the needy.

What all of these GenZ people have in common is what I see from my own GenZ connections. GenZ grew up during the Great Recession and saw what hard times do to people. In turn, that experienced shaped them into young people who want to help others, are willing to do the work to help others, and do it in a way that is modern and digital.

Yes, they are on their phones a lot. So, are we all. But, they use this digital world to do things a speed we could have never comprehended when we were their age. They are consuming information at a rate far exceeding every generation before them, which makes them better informed than most before them.

I wouldn’t call them entitled or snowflakes. They are not delicate or looking for a handout. They were raised in hard times and they are giving back as much as any before them. You might call me a fan of this generation. I have so much hope for what they will bring to the world. As a parent, I guess we probably all feel that way about our kids.

As we get ready to go into 2020, I would love to see all leaders embrace this growing younger workforce in a way that is positive and hopeful for the future. I think we are in good hands with GenZ!

DisruptHR Lansing! March 19th – Call for Speakers is Open!

Lansing, MI is about to get all Disrupted and Stuff!

Everyone already knows I’m a big believer in DisruptHR events. I’ve spoken at many, I’ve been on the team running DisruptHR Detroit from the beginning, and I decided to start DisruptHR Lansing in my own backyard!

Our first event, DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 will take place in Downtown Lansing on March 19th in the evening (more details to follow) at The Exchange. Great speakers, free food and drinks, and disruptive HR talks throughout the night!

What is DisruptHR?

  • 5-minute hr-based micro-talks. Might be HR, talent, employee experience, leadership, rap music, who knows!
  • Each talk has a very specific format – 20 slides and each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds.
  • The goal is to be fast and challenge the status quo of the people side of the business!


We’ll be selecting a great group of speakers. I encourage HR pros and Leaders from the Mid-Michigan area to throw your names into the hat for speaking spots!!! It’s a great way to get yourself on stage with a group of fellow HR peers who’ll support you and laugh at our bad HR jokes!

Speakers also get a professionally recorded version of your talk. This is an awesome parting gift for your own development, and to show other conferences, etc. if you decide you want to speak in a longer format in the future. Almost every conference I know now asks for some proof of your ability to speak, as such, this becomes a very valuable piece of content!

Why Speak at DisruptHR Lansing 1.0? 

1. Well, I’ll be there!

2. Lansing, MI is the capital of Michigan. The epicenter of all things people in our state. It’s also might be the one place in Michigan that needs the most HR disruption!

3. HR pros need a network. We need to support each other. This is a great event to make that happen!

4. Cocktails & Hugs! (which ironically is the name of one of my upcoming future books!)

5. I’ll owe you!

Let’s face it. It’s March 19, 2020. We’ve just spent the last 120 days in pure grayness. We need to get out and do something! The event space will be intimate, the energy will be high, and we’re going to have some fun! Come join us! Tickets will go on sale after the holidays. We wanted to open up the Call for Speakers first!

If you want to get an email when tickets go on sale, leave your email on the comments below and I”ll make sure you’re the first to know!

AI 4 HR! Understanding the most Misunderstood Concept in HR!

Jeanne Meister, Forbes 2020 Workplace Columnist, and HR executive brought together this incredible team of great HR pros/minds and developed an entire curriculum around using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in every single aspect of HR! What Jeanne and the team know is that AI is currently the most misunderstood concept in human resources, but it has the ability to become the biggest advantage to HR leaders and pros over anything we’ve ever seen! 

AI 4 HR is the one of its kind 5-week online course that will share the fundamentals of artificial intelligence and how 12 HR experts are using AI to completely re-imagine the employee experience. The course showcases specific use cases of how AI can and is already being used across HR for good in:

  • Talent Acquisition
  • Employee Onboarding
  • Internal Talent Mobility (my #1 trend for 2020!) 
  • Learning and career development
  • Performance Management (the single thing every manager needs!) 
  • Coaching

So, yeah, it’s an online, self-paced course of five modules that utilizes great video content from real HR pros/leaders from: IBM, Cisco, TIAA, Davita, GE, Schneider Electric, Hilton, Brigham Women’s Hospital, and more! So, pretty much every industry is represented with real-world case studies and actions. Jeanne made sure to get the SHRM/HRCI credits for you – 8 hours worth! 

What I like about the design of this course is that it goes live on January 20 and runs through February 21. One new module released each week for five weeks. This kind of forces us to be a bit more ‘self-directed’ in getting the content done, unlike other self-directed courses. If you miss a week, you can definitely go back and catch up, but I like that the design of AI 4 HR is set up to get all of us to get it done in a timely way! 

So, what’s the catch! 

It does cost money. Turns out all good things do! The full fee for the course is currently $499  (about half that of one national conference) and if you use the super-secret Tim Sackett code: AINOW – you’ll get $100 off at registration making it $399 (when you check out, go to “Show Order Summary” and you can input the code!). 

It’s a super deal for the content and learning around AI, and for the SHRM/HRCI credits. Go check out the site! I love that you’re hearing from actual real HR people who are using the tech and how they are using it, and not vendors, etc. There’s a big difference between what really happens in our organizations versus what vendors are telling us will happen, many times. 

Register Today! 

For those who go through this, please come back and comment and let the rest of the group know what you thought! I’m impressed with what is being presented, but I would love to get some feedback from others as well! 

Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @TryVantagePoint – Virtual Reality Harassment Training!

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the HR technology startup VantagePoint. VantagePoint is a virtual reality(VR) learning technology company that has produced both sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion training, as well as a training metrics dashboard to go along with their VR training.

I’m not sure we are even close to what VR can become in the HR world. Clearly, there is a great use case for it in training and we see organizations are beginning to start testing it, but to this point, it’s still rather uncommon in most organizations. In fact, it’s uncommon in almost every part of our lives. Only 2% of people in the world have ever even tried it! But, it’s growing like crazy, basically doubling in usage every year.

All that said, it’s actually super cool and fun! Now, if you ever had put on a VR headset and did a fly through the grand canyon, or taken a trip on a roller coaster, you could probably see how that might get old, are nauseating, very quickly! If you have watched a live NBA game from the first row at half-court, through VR goggles, you start to understand how totally awesome it can be!

VantagePoint’s CEO, Morgan Mercer, was early in on the VR tech and it’s potential use to train our employees in how to be better with sexual harassment and has also added in content for D&I as well. VR is only part of what VantagePoint is about. Doing great VR means you have to have great content for your employees to get emersed in. Ultimately, VR is the training delivery tool, but what VantagePoint understands is you better deliver great engaging content is you want great training.

What do I live about VantagePoint? 

– When you go through harassment training with VR goggles and headphones on, you feel like you are witnessing harassment happening, live, right in front of you. You’re uncomfortable. You want to do something. The fact is, doing training in virtual reality forces the user to be totally focused unlike any other kind of training I’ve ever done.

– VantagePoint has figured out, as LOD and HR pros we don’t really want to mess around with hardware (VR goggles, etc.). So, part of their strategy is to just bring everything to you, have a person on-site, and take away any pain or frustration that might go along with that side of training. You just have them show up, and they take your employees through the training. (You can also do it on your own if you like)

– The harassment training isn’t just watching this stuff happen on VR. The user also gets calls on a pop-up looking iPhone with a call from HR telling the user what they did right or wrong, etc. If you get something wrong, you get thrown back into the experience to do more work.

– I love that you can measure not only the compliance side of the training, but you can also see who is actually getting it, and who isn’t with the metrics dashboard they’ve developed.

We all know we can and have to do better when it comes to sexual harassment training in our workplaces. Traditional, classroom-style training just doesn’t seem to cut it, because it doesn’t grab the attention of the audience. No matter how well done. VantagePoint has figured out a better delivery tool, and one that will be commonplace in the very near future when it comes to all kinds of training.

The price point is actually less expensive then I thought it would be, and I would think most organizations of every size will be able to afford the VantagePoint VR training. I do think Morgan, and her team, are just scratching the surface of what’s possible when it comes to this kind of training in our workplaces. But, great VR content is also labor-intensive to pull off well.

I would definitely recommend a demo, especially if you’re looking for a great alternative to traditional harassment and D&I training. This is training that your employees will definitely remember and pay attention to!

The 12 Steps to Recovery for Being a Passionate Asshole!

I wrote a post titled, “The 5 Things HR Leaders Need to Know About Developing Employees“. In that post I had a paragraph:

When I was young in my career, I was very ‘passionate’. That’s what I liked calling it – passionate.  I think the leaders I worked with called it, “career derailer”.  It took a lot for me to understand what I thought was a strength, was really a major weakness.  Some people never will gain this insight.  They’ll continue to believe they’re just passionate when in reality they’re really just an asshole.

I then had a reader send me a message and basically said, “This is me!” And I was like, “That was me too!” And then we kissed. Okay, we didn’t kiss, but it’s great to find another like yourself in the wild!

The reality is, I’m a recovering Passionate Asshole.

What’s a “Passionate Asshole” are asking yourself? Here’s my definition –

“A passionate asshole is a person who feels like they are more about the success of the company than anyone else. I mean everyone else. They care more than everyone! And because we care so much, we treat people poorly who we feel don’t care as much as us!”

Passionate assholes truly believe in every part of their being they’re great employees. You will not be able to tell us any differently. They are usually high performing in their jobs, which also justifies even more that they care more. But, in all of this, they leave a wake of bad feelings and come across like your everyday basic asshole.

You know at least one of these people. They’re usually younger in the 24-35-year-old range. Too early in their career to have had some major setbacks and high confidence in their abilities.

Here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate Assholes:

Step 1: Realization that your an Asshole, not the best employee ever hired in the history of the universe. This realization doesn’t actually fix the passionate asshole, but without it, you have no chance.

Step 2: You understand that while being a passionate asshole feels great, this isn’t going to further your career and get you to your ultimate goal.

Step 3: Professionally they have knocked down in a major way. I was fired. Not because I was doing the job, but because I was leaving a wake of bodies and destruction in the path of doing my job. You don’t have to be fired, demotion might also work, but usually, it’s getting canned.

Step 4: Some you truly respect needs to tell you you’re not a good employee, but an asshole, during a time you’re actually listening.

Step 5: Find a leader and organization that will embrace you for who you’re trying to become, knowing who you truly are. You don’t go from Passionate Asshole to model employee overnight! It’s not a light switch.

Step 6: Time. This is a progression. You begin to realize some of your passionate asshole triggers. You begin to use your powers for good and not to blow people up who you feel aren’t worthy of oxygen. Baby steps. One day at a time.

Step 7: You stop making bad career moves based on the passionate asshole beast inside of you, telling you moving to the ‘next’ role is really the solution to what you’re feeling.

Step 8: We make a list of people we’ve destroyed while being passionate assholes. Yes, even the people you don’t like!

Step 9: Reach out to the people you’ve destroyed and make amends. Many of these people have ended up being my best professional contacts now late in life. Turns out, adults are actually pretty good a forgiving and want to establish relationships with people who are honest and have self-insight.

Step 10: We are able to tell people we’re sorry for being a passionate asshole when find ourselves being a passionate asshole, and not also seeing the passion within them and what they also bring to the organization is a value to not only us but to the organization as a whole.

Step 11: You begin to reflect, instead of reacting as a first response. Passionate assholes love to react quickly! We’re passionate, we’re ready at all times, so our initial thought is not to think, but react decisively. You’ve reached step 11 when your first thought is to no longer react like a crazy person!

Step 12: You begin to reach out to other passionate assholes and help them realize how they’re destroying their careers and don’t even know it. You begin mentoring.

I know I’ll never stop being a Passionate Asshole. It’s a personality flaw, and even when you change, you never fully change. But, I now understand when I’m being that person, can usually stop myself mid-passionate asshole blow up, and realize there are better ways to communicate and act.



Do you believe your HR leadership style is that of a “coach”?

I read an article in The New Yorker on the importance of “Coaching” by Atul Gawande.  Atul is a writer and a surgeon, smart and creative and I should hate him, but he’s so freaking brilliant! From the article:

The concept of a coach is slippery. Coaches are not teachers, but they teach. They’re not your boss—in professional tennis, golf, and skating, the athlete hires and fires the coach—but they can be bossy. They don’t even have to be good at the sport. The famous Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi couldn’t do a split if his life depended on it. Mainly, they observe, they judge, and they guide.

As an HR leader, I’ve always believed that HR has the ability to act as “coaches” across all vestiges of our organizations.  The problem we run into is this mentality, “You can’t coach me! You don’t know the first thing about Marketing, or Operations, or Accounting.” You’re right, good thing I’m not “teaching” you that! That’s why we hired you. Having a coaching culture in your organization starts during the selection process. Are you hiring people who are open to being coached? 

More from The New Yorker –

Good coaches know how to break down performance into its critical individual components. In sports, coaches focus on mechanics, conditioning, and strategy, and have ways to break each of those down, in turn. The U.C.L.A. basketball coach John Wooden, at the first squad meeting each season, even had his players practice putting their socks on. He demonstrated just how to do it: he carefully rolled each sock over his toes, up his foot, around the heel, and pulled it up snug, then went back to his toes and smoothed out the material along the sock’s length, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases. He had two purposes in doing this. First, wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters cost games. Second, he wanted his players to learn how crucial seemingly trivial details could be. “Details create success” was the creed of a coach who won ten N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championships.

I think this is critical in working with adult professionals. Coaches aren’t trying to “teach” them new concepts, but helping them self-analyze and make improvements to what they already do well. We/HR can make our workforces better, not by focusing on weaknesses/opportunity areas, which we spend way too much time on, but by making our employees’ strengths even stronger.

Coaching has become a fad in recent years. There are leadership coaches, executive coaches, life coaches, and college-application coaches. Search the Internet, and you’ll find that there’s even Twitter coaching. Self-improvement has always found a ready market, and most of what’s on offer is simply one-on-one instruction to get amateurs through the essentials. It’s teaching with a trendier name. Coaching aimed at improving the performance of people who are already professionals is less usual.

I’m talking about turning HR into “Life” coaches or “Executive” coacheS. Those types of “coaches” are way different and fall more into the “therapists” categories, than what I see HR acting as “professional” coaches. Professional coaches work alongside their Pros day-to-day and see them in action, and work with them to specifically improve on those things that impact the business. They don’t care that you’re not “feeling” as “challenged” as you once were, and need to find yourself.

I think the biggest struggle HR Pros will have in a role as “coach” is our ability to understand most employees have low self-awareness (including ourselves!). Being a great coach is measured on your ability to get someone to see something in themselves, they don’t already see, and make them truly believe it. If we can get there in our organizations, oh boy, watch out!

Is Your Company a Magnet for Talent? #Greatness19 @OCTanner

I’m out at O.C. Tanner’s Influence Greatness conference this week and got a sneak peek at their 2020 Global Cultural Report by the O.C. Tanner Institute and it’s loaded with some exceptional findings! O.C. Tanner puts more money into their research than almost any other HR Tech company on the planet, so it’s well worth checking out. This report surveyed 20,000 people and over 12.8 million data points.

The research is based on O.C. Tanner’s model of “Talent Magnets” of which there are six:

  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership
  • Purpose
  • Opportunity
  • Success
  • Appreciation

While every single one of these is important in their own right, they also all work together. Lift one, and you will lift the rest. As you can imagine the highest-rated magnet is Purpose. Having a clear purpose to why you do the work you do has the highest impact on positive engagement.

So often I find people believing their job or their company has no purpose, but everyone does and every organization does. You might not believe in it, or agree with it, but the purpose is there. Part of the being a strong magnet is pulling in others who do believe in your purpose.

Wellbeing is another one that is interesting. On the outside, we see “wellbeing” and we think physical wellbeing, but in reality, in terms of being a talent magnet, it’s probably more social wellbeing that has a bigger impact. It’s something like belonging. Do I feel like I belong here, or that I’m wanted here? Do I feel valued by not only my leader but my peers and co-workers that I’m with every day?

I think we discount how important this is to the retention of all talent. We discount it because it’s really hard to help someone feel like they belong. Many times this comes out on the exit interview as “oh, yeah, Tim, he just didn’t ‘fit’ our culture”. The truth is no one ‘fits’ your culture the moment they walk in, we make them feel wanted, we make them feel like they belong, and then not so magically, they become a great ‘fit’.

One of the shocking findings in the report is the picture above. 59% of your employees would take another job with another company for basically the same job. Same title, same pay, same benefits, believing that it will magically be better. This really isn’t as surprising if you really go through your turnover. Most people leave us for basically the same job at another place, believing it’s something better, but it’s basically the same.

Another piece of data from the report I’m fascinated by is 79% of employees are feeling some level of burnout, from minor to extreme. Burnout is basically chronic workplace stress that isn’t mitigated. Do you know who never had “burnout”? Your grandparents! So, they either were way tougher than we are, or work has changed considerably! I think it’s a bit of both, actually!

It’s a giant report, I’m only scratching morsels from all the data – it’s like 180 pages – I’m not even sure my book was that long! If you’re in HR and leadership this is a must-read to help your organization nurture the culture you want to have.

How to Impact Company Culture from Any Role

Experiments with organizations

In the past 5-10 years, we’ve seen businesses increasingly experiment with different organizational structures, including “holacracy” and similar concepts like “self-management.” In most organizations, though, hierarchy persists. And while hierarchy has some negative elements to it, by and large, it makes sense. It helps the human brain organize who is responsible for whom, whom to contact for what, and how decisions get made.

As a result of the sheer number of organizations that use a standard hierarchical structure, though, company culture tends to come from the top. The mission statement is usually defined by the founders and revised (if this happens) by subsequent senior leaders. It’s very rare that an entry-level employee would be at the table when cultural contexts are being defined.

It can seem hard to impact your company’s culture from any role on the team, then. But in reality, it’s not as hard as you might think.

First, think of what culture actually is

It’s not words on a sheet on a wall somewhere. It’s not posters of cats hanging from clotheslines in the break room.

It is the living and breathing of that company every day. It’s how work gets done, the process. It’s how people greet each other in the morning, how people interact in that same break room, how conflicts are handled and joyous moments are celebrated. That’s what culture actually is. If you think of it in that way, then everyone automatically is contributing because they are a part of the bigger ecosystem, and their part contributes to the culture just as much as any other, regardless of compensation, decision-making authority, size of office, or anything else.

Think for a second about toxic employees. Even a low-level, toxic employee can greatly impact the culture because other employees want to disengage, work falls through the cracks, and people feel negative about meetings and even coming to work. That’s not a fun example, no, but it’s an example of how any employee, regardless of level and rank, can shift the culture one way or the other.

In the same vein, think of a movie like Rudy. For the entire film, Rudy is the mutt of glorious Notre Dame football. Whether or not he was offsides (ha), he remains one of only two people in Notre Dame history carried off the field by his teammates. Most offices have a Rudy: a spunky, high-energy, committed-to-the-brand young buck at a low level. That office Rudy inspires people to work harder and better. Even small cogs of good and bad can shift a culture.

What you need to do as an employee at your level

You cannot impact culture from lower levels without some form of respect from upper levels and peers unless your impact will be negative. The only path to a positive impact on culture from your level is to be seen as an employee that:

  • Shows up on time
  • Works hard
  • Is always professional
  • Delivers for clients and customers
  • Defers when you need to defer
  • Learns from others

If you are seen as that type of employee, it’s then possible to push the edges a little bit, and:

  • Speak up more in meetings
  • Push back on ideas
  • Attempt to motivate/encourage others
  • Ask for more responsibilities
  • Have small pockets of leadership and management

If you try to do the second set of bullet points before establishing the first, the reaction might be negative. Many managers do not like people asking for more until that baseline of professionalism and hard work has been set firmly. Once you have a baseline, you can get more for yourself, and you can contribute even more to the culture of the organization.

Be an advocate

Finally, go to HR to offer your help with recruiting. Often, recruiting is drowning in new requisitions and trying to find time on the calendars of hiring managers, plus the logistics of active searches. We speak often of “employer brand,” and it is valuable, but the recruiting function doesn’t always have the time to strategically manage what that needs to be done. So, go to them and offer to attend local networking events and happy hours to be an advocate for what the internal culture is like. Offer to do peer interviews where applicable and be a “face” of the business. Now, you’re unquestionably impacting the culture because you’re out there in your business’ market, setting the tone of what it would be like to work there. You’re basically doing business development, even if some might think of it only as networking. That’s hugely powerful.

Always remember

Culture might be set in terms of documents by the highest ranks, but it’s lived and breathed by everyone, every day, in cubicles, offices, conference rooms, and on Zoom and Skype calls. You have your impact on it, too, and it can be a massive impact if you’re willing to set your professionalism baseline and put in the work.

It’s imperative that culture be sustainable and permeate throughout the entire workforce. Employee engagement and investment are key factors in creating a culture that does more than coming from the top down. To learn more about company culture, including how to promote an organizational culture that is positive and sustainable, check out King University’s guide What’s All the Buzz About? The Importance of Company Culture.

You can learn the latest in this and other business topics by earning an online MBA through King University. Throughout the program, you’ll study management, research, theoretical systems, quantitative analysis, ethical practices, and more, preparing you to become an effective and strategic business leader in a variety of settings. Designed with working students in mind, their flexible program can fit easily into your schedule, and no GMAT is required.

Company Culture Across Generations

There’s been a lot – A LOT – of discussion in the past few years about all the different generations in the workplace, how dissimilar they are and the challenges and opportunities they create for work. To quickly recap, at present, we have five generations in the workplace, typically:

  • Silents: Born during and before World War II.
  • Baby Boomers: Born immediately after World War II up until about 1965.
  • Generation X: Born in the late 1960s (culture change, Vietnam, etc.) until about the early 1980s.
  • Millennials: There is some argument here over when this cohort begins, and sometimes 1977-1983 birthdays are called “Xillennials” (mix of “X” and millennial), but generally this is early- to mid-1980s up until the late 1990s.
  • Generation Z: 1998/1999 region until now-ish.

The exact years will vary a little bit based on which source you use, but these are the big buckets. The important thing to remember is that each of these cohorts is millions of people, so while there’s a tendency to generalize – and we will need to do some of that in this article – the fact is that some millennials are bad at technology, and some boomers embrace technology instantly (both examples going against perception of their cohort). So, above all: Treat individuals as individuals in order to get the best results work-wise.

All this said, we still wonder how the interplay of these five generations impacts company culture.

What might each generation want from the culture of an organization?

Think about it in these terms:

  • Silents: The ones that are still working have been working for a long time, and they’ve seen an almost uncountable number of changes to how we work. You could argue their biggest cultural focus would be one of respect and, at some level, not wholly disrupting their final work years.
  • Boomers: They are established in their careers and see the exit ramp. They do want a culture of respect for elders and one where learning can be passed down the chain to “young bucks.” We get very stereotypical around boomers and technology, but in general, if technology is going to improve the org and the business, boomers tend to be in favor of it.
  • Gen X: This is currently the generation doing a lot of managing and “making trains run,” although it’s possible we’re not promoting them enough in line with all the work they do. They want a supportive culture where process is followed so that work can be optimized.
  • Millennials: There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about millennials in the workplace. For example, there’s a perception that they don’t work hard and yet consistently ask for promotions. In reality, because they’re less-established in their careers, they tend to be workaholics statistically. They want a culture of learning, and they do want to broadly disrupt how work is traditionally done. They want to see change when change is relevant.
  • Z: Zers entering the workforce now were in elementary and middle school during the 2008 recession, and they saw how it impacted their parents. They have a different connection to work, understanding that work doesn’t always provide in the way it claims. They want to see different approaches culturally, which means more flexibility for the employees. You could also classify them as a “side hustle” generation, not fully believing in one W-2 job for years and years.

How would this knowledge help you shape work?

There are a few different ways:

  • First, treat individuals as individuals. We mentioned this above, but just because someone is 28, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a millennial mindset. Their mindset might be akin to a boomer. So, deal with people where they are.
  • Learning is paramount. With the possible exception of Silents, every generation wants to learn, especially because work is changing so quickly. Unfortunately, organizations haven’t been great at prioritizing learning over the years. Consider different modalities, like video learning, auditory learning (podcasts about your culture, interviews with executives, etc.), session learning (standard with slide decks) and experiential learning (seeing how trucks are unloaded at a warehouse). Make learning a priority because the need for it cuts across all generations culturally.
  • Mentors/training. Because you have two established generations, two younger generations, and one squarely in the middle, you should create opportunities for each to impart wisdom to another. Host Friday afternoon sessions about hobbies outside of work. Have millennials teach boomers about chatbots, and boomers teach Z about professionalism. Create a constant exchange of ideas between generations, and have the knowledge move in different directions.
  • Constant assessment. Ask every generation what they think about the work, the projects, processes and the overall culture. You don’t need to ask every day (overkill) but try to ask once a month to get a pulse for how your employees are feeling. Break that information down by age cohort to see which cohorts are feeling least-connected to the culture of your business. What could be done to get them re-engaged? You might have an abandoned cart strategy for your e-commerce side, right? Well, now we need an abandoned employee strategy. If Gen X is disconnected, is it time to promote them more, for example?

Overgeneralizing about the existing generations can lead to navel-gazing, and navel-gazing can lead to non-impactful decision-making. But if you prioritize learning and treat everyone as an individual while constantly assessing how people feel about working for you, you’ll put yourself on the path to designing a culture that works for everyone, regardless of age.

Other aspects of company culture

What each generation wants from their company differs, but every employee wants to work in a culture that is supportive and consistent. To learn more about how to promote an organizational culture that is positive and sustainable, check out King University’s guide What’s All the Buzz About? The Importance of Company Culture.

With all the benefits of great culture, it’s easy to see why focusing on it is a must, but it’s also a challenging task. It’s imperative that culture be sustainable and permeate throughout the entire workforce. Much thought is still being put into how to do that, and all companies must customize their approach.

You can learn the latest in this and other business topics by earning an online MBA through King University. Throughout the program, you’ll study management, research, theoretical systems, quantitative analysis, ethical practices and more, preparing you to become an effective and strategic

5 Tips for Displaying Company Culture During the Hiring Process

So, why is company culture important?

We inherently understand why a company’s culture is valuable, sure. It sets up the rules, procedures and best practices for a place where you spend 40-50 hours a week, and it guides employees on how to make decisions, how to deal with customers and more. It’s very important for those intangible reasons.

But, at the same time, for-profit companies are about, well, generating returns for shareholders and stakeholders. In those situations, why does company culture matter? It can easily be dismissed as a “fluffy” or “soft” concept in the big financial meetings, but that’s folly. Company culture deeply impacts the bottom line, with one study in August 2016 showing that bad cultures can lose companies about $52.7 million of value per year. That number will vary drastically between organizations and the verticals they play within, with another estimate putting culture and personnel problems at about $15.5 million lost in a year. We’ve also seen studies about more compassionate, empathetic cultures – which employees tend to respond better to and turnover less within – being tied to improved fiscal performance and customer satisfaction.

What we’ve established: The culture of an organization is important. So now, if you’re growing and hiring, how do you display that culture during the hiring process to make sure you get the best people possible?

Some tips for displaying culture during the hiring process

Here are some of the bigger buckets to consider:

  • What is happening with your Glassdoor? This is a tricky subject for some organizations, but I’ll attempt to break it down for you. First, many candidates will look at your Glassdoor to see what previous employees have said about you. Glassdoor scaled enough within public opinion that it got a profile in The New Yorker. It’s important. That said, when you see an absolutely terrible review in isolation, most humans will dismiss it as a disgruntled former employee (e.g., someone who was fired). Most candidates will look at the more nuanced reviews that address both the good and the bad. As the company, what you want to do is go in and respond to the bad elements – while acknowledging the good – in all the reviews you get. Show that you care. That’s a big element of your culture.
  • Be active on LinkedIn: This should seem obvious, but it often is not. Most information in the early stages for a candidate will come from LinkedIn – seeing what you post as a brand, seeing who works there, how connected (first/second degree) they are to who works there, etc. So, post relevant content there. Post about your industry. Post about employee accomplishments. Post about growth and gains. Post thought-provoking questions. Show that you’re a robust company that is active both online and off. That will make a candidate feel better than “Their last brand post was in 2013.”
  • Have an employee video: This can be cost-prohibitive sometimes, especially if you lack a video production person in-house, but if you can make it happen, it’s very valuable. Show employees at work, at social events, at ball games, volunteering, etc. Break it up with a mix of soundbites from executives and regular employees, and put a dash of history – when founded, where, why – into the video, too. Use the language and actual words of the employees themselves.
  • Have a “What It’s Like to Work Here” page on your website, tied to your Careers Page: Too often, organizations will only have a careers page with open listings, but a candidate can’t find much about what it’s like to work there. (That’s why they turn to LinkedIn and Glassdoor.) Have a page with pictures from work, social events, volunteering, the video mentioned above, quotes from employees, and more. Embed the job openings on that page, too. That way, as someone learns about your culture, they’re one click from actually applying to an opening.
  • Consider using peer interviews: Peer interviews aren’t massively common yet, but more and more companies are embracing them. By letting candidates be interviewed by members of the team they would eventually join, they get a realistic look at the culture, the day-to-day responsibilities and the actual people they’d be completing projects with. Obviously, the hiring manager can have the final say on who gets the offer, but involving the team in hiring is a great way to showcase what the culture really is to a candidate.

What other ways have you seen culture showcased during the hiring process?

Other aspects of company culture

To learn more about company culture, including the types of company culture and what they mean as well as how to promote an organizational culture that is positive and sustainable, check out King University’s guide What’s All the Buzz About? The Importance of Company Culture.

With all the benefits of great culture, it’s easy to see why focusing on it is a must, but it’s also a challenging task. It’s imperative that culture be sustainable and permeate throughout the entire workforce. Much thought is still being put into how to do that, and all companies must customize their approach.

You can learn the latest in this and other business topics by earning an online MBA through King University. Throughout the program, you’ll study management, research, theoretical systems, quantitative analysis, ethical practices and more, preparing you to become an effective and strategic business leader in a variety of settings. Designed with working students in mind, their flexible program can fit easily into your schedule, and no GMAT is required.