In a recent conversation with some of my industry peers we spoke extensively about why the current generation can be “difficult” to work with. I’m not sure I agree with that though. I often find myself wondering if it’s “us” or “them” that’s the problem – maybe it’s really us that’s difficult to work with.
As I’ve gotten older and progressed through my career (and had children) I’ve come to appreciate the often talked about – but still elusive to many – “work-life balance.” Early on in my career I spent several years working 70-80 weeks, coming into the office every Saturday, working from home at nights and being “on call” via my smartphone for whenever the boss needed me. I was very much of the mindset that this was the only way to be successful. But my experience says that the current generation defines success differently, it’s the journey, not the destination. It’s having fun while working. It’s about the experience. It’s about the interaction with their peers.
Today I dare you to look around your organization and ask yourself:
- Do your employees enjoy their work? Their work environment?
- Are they comfortable socializing with each other?
- Are they comfortable approaching the leaders within your organization or are they scared that they won’t be taken seriously or that their input won’t be considered?
Be honest with yourself and consider these questions carefully. If you can’t emphatically answer yes to these questions, it’s time to begin thinking about how to (re)build your culture so that it’s ok to be professional and have fun doing it. After all Google and Apple, well known for their work cultures, seem to be getting it right.