It’s no question that we are seeing a shift in both the Corporate sector of business practice and the pursuance of young professionals entering the work force. The values of newly entering generations in regards to both what they are looking to get out of their professional experience and what they are willing to sacrifice is drastically changing. With cult classics like Office Space and HBO’s Silicon Valley, the stigma of office relationships and mental patience to handle such toxicity is dwindling. This is why it’s important to understand this new shift and be a part of the change instead of being a part of the past.
The small business sector has taken the biggest hit in regards to changes over the last few decades. U.S entrepreneurship has been in decline for the last 40 years. Smaller mom and pops shops continue to be replaced by another local Starbucks or Chipotle chain location. At the same time though, there is mass growth and adoption in leisure related brick and mortars from Yoga studios, independent fitness studios, tattoo shops, shared office spaces for independent tech professionals… the list goes on. We are seeing a major split in work ethics between the younger generations entering the workforce. The group that is choosing to become leisure related professionals (massage therapists, fitness trainers, dog trainers, tattoo artists) and the group that is seeking a more “traditional” corporate job, but within a work environment that is suited to their needs and values. Some even dabble within both work groups, full time gigs and running some sort of “side hustle” in their favorite after work activities.
There are a few key catalysts that are steering us towards this new modern era of Solo, Small and Large Business culture… this purpose focused workforce shift, wellness within the work environment, democratization of brand influence in the markets, anytime anywhere accessible business tools, and the many forces that are conspiring for more creativity in both existing businesses and side gigs of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Purpose Focused Workforce Shift
We are seeing a major shift in what millennials value when they are considering prospective companies that they are wanting to work for. Based off Capital Groups study, 82% of millennials are looking for the support of health and wellness for the company’s employees and customers.
This wellness supports a realm of potential for businesses to try and attract loyal employees onto your team. From maternity and paternity time off, to charitable gift matching. The employees want to know both that they are not negatively impacting the lives of others and instead making a positive impact and that they have a fair balance with their personal life in addition to financial stability.
The rise in global awareness on these issues that are impacting the lives of billions of people are influencing the younger workforce to consider these problems when working for entities that could potentially be a culprit to these issues. Rising issues like child labor in third world countries, global warming, emission and plastic waste in the ocean, greed within corporations that trade happy and satisfied customers for a higher valued P&L… the list goes on.
The media continues to put light onto these problems through their outlets, social media, NGO activities and politics. We already see companies taking initiative into these arising problems on their future business. The automobile industry has already been manufacturing and building better and more improved eco-friendly vehicles and continuing to push for 0 emission with fully electric models. Walmarts push for more organic food creating more demand for it & zero waste to landfill programs. Ikea investing $1 Billion in renewable energy to power all its stores and offices.
Business sectors that are not actively working on improving their stance on global and neighborhood issues will start seeing problems within both their reputation with the younger generations and the shortage of labor. Agricultural farming leaving negative impact on local water sources from the strong chemicals within the fertilizer, oil spills in the oceans by Shell, Exxon and other oil companies and *carbon emissions from other energy companies. These companies are essentially being forced to reconstruct and improve their impacts on the planet by both political influence and their social reputation from the general public.
Business Mission Statement and Purpose
A businesses mission is another key proponent to what attracts today’s new employees. Based off FORTUNE’s List of 100 Best places to work for 2018, many of the companies missions revolve around impacting communities and empowering individuals, especially their employees and customers.
Workday — “to make a difference in our communities and support Workday employees in their charitable investments of time and money”
Salesforce — “to improve the state of the world, and we work to make sure Salesforce is a platform for change through serving the interests of all our stakeholders — employees, customers, partners, communities and the environment.”
REI — “philosophy of protecting the environment and empowering their employees and customers to get involved in conservation efforts”
We already see the positive impact this has on the businesses culture and brand influence. You can see the value here, as a brand, you are creating a positive atmosphere and a purpose that allows your customers to feel like they’re part of something bigger through their loyalty and support for such a high impact cause. It’s an omni-win-win for both the business, its employees and its consumers.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Millennials and workers are valuing their time more than ever before. One of the top priorities being the ability to be flexible with their time, travel and work arrangements. We are seeing more and more businesses adopt Airbnb and GitHub’s business model for employment, with most of their teams working remote…once in awhile collecting together into a single location and working on larger projects for back to back day sprints. These companies are seeing twice the productivity with half the team size. BambooHR does an excellent job at sharing their commitment to this vision for their employees.
Individuals that work independent have the highest flexibility, creating their own schedule, hours, and taking clients when they choose to. Solo professionals value this as one of their biggest incentives in their work life and they hold it dearly.
Millennials and workers are highly focused on the impact of their work, the mission of the work they are engaged in, flexible hours, and the lifestyle their work gives them. This is just one of many parts influencing the shift in the work environment.