Why company culture is so important?

Company culture is more important than ever. It’s not that company culture was ever unimportant, but it’s quickly proving to be a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have.”

For the first time in history, millennials have become the largest generational cohort in the U.S. workforce, with almost 54 million making up the labor force. Millennials aren’t from outer space, but they did grow up in a different setting from previous generations, which contributes to the shifting priorities that we’re seeing in the workforce today.

This leads us to today’s workplace landscape, in which HR leaders consider culture:

Flexibility in the workplace is important

According to a study by PWC, employees of all generations are prioritizing flexibility in their jobs, whether that be in the form of scheduling, location or even office setup. In fact, for many employees, flexibility in a job is more important than compensation and promotion.

Culture and engagement their number-one challenge, according to a recent study by Deloitte University Press. It’s clear that in order to attract, retain and engage the modern workforce, we need to focus on company culture.

It’s a tall order, and we should start by looking at what employees (millennials and non-millennials alike) value in their job. Here are three priorities of today’s workforce to consider when developing your company culture:

  1. Professional development

Like flexibility, professional development is even more important to millennials than financial rewards when selecting an employer. This means that you should think about the potential for advancement within your company and also how you are presenting job opportunities to prospective employees.

There are many interesting professional development initiatives you can explore to make sure employees are learning and developing on the job, like connecting employees to MOOCs (massive open online courses), building out a mentorship program or promoting passion projects.

2. Be good, do good

Prospective and current employees care about your reputation as a company. This reputation encompasses your employer brand and also your company’s social responsibility efforts, such as corporate giving, volunteerism and sustainability. What your company does and says needs to align with what employees believe.

A powerful example of making this part of your company culture is Whole Foods, who incorporates social responsibility as a core value: “We serve and support our local and global communities.”

However, it doesn’t need to be that drastic, and there are plenty of smaller things you can do as a company. For example, at my company CultureIQ, we volunteered together as one of our monthly culture events. Some companies even allocate a designated amount of time for off-site volunteer activities.

3. Be passionate and listen

While millennials have brought these topics to the forefront of our minds, your company culture should be designed for and built by all employees. These priorities give you a place to start, but the strongest company cultures develop from input and feedback from employees.

Your employees need to know they can do the same to achieve that balance in their life. Luckily, we live in an age of technology innovations, and there are plenty of solutions that help employees collaborate, learn and be productive, regardless of their hours or location. Listen to your employees and your business culture will be what is needed to grow and scale your company with the right people.