“Crowd” by Boris Baldinger is licensed under CC BY 2.0
We expect personalization on so many levels. It makes sense that we expect it at our jobs PHOTO: Boris Baldinger

High-performing people look for organizations with environments where they can be their authentic selves. They seek cultures that adapt to the way they want to work.

If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they are happy to look elsewhere. According to LinkedIn’s 2015 report “Why and How People Change Jobs,” 36 percent of job changers left their organizations because of dissatisfaction with their work cultures.

Create a Corporate Culture for Everyone

Corporate leaders and HR professionals now face the challenge of creating cultures which meet the individual needs of multi-generational, diverse workforces, while also engineering this individualism to promote the achievement of their companies’ objectives. 

Doing so means meeting each person where he or she is and putting plans in place for their development. 

In my experience, young people want the same treatment as more experienced people — the same flexibility, benefits and recognition for hard work — while more seasoned people want to feel engaged and valued, even if they’re not looking to climb any higher on the corporate ladder.

A strong culture will meet all of these needs.

The New Talent Team Playbook

To begin to address peoples’ needs and create an individualistic — yet collective — beneficial culture, talent teams need a new playbook, one that includes the following strategies:

1. Adopt a Performance-Based Ethic

Organizations must connect the performance of talent with business performance, which will create an environment where people actively want to succeed. By allowing people to apply their unique approaches to the delivery of a common outcome, organizations help them feel valuable and satisfied. 

Performance-oriented cultures may rely less on titles, seniority and tangible perks like paid time off in favor of the intrinsic value of a sense of accomplishment for a challenge overcome or a job well done. Creating a sense of accomplishment requires engaging people in measuring their own progress. 

2. Establish a 'Work How You Want, When You Want' Mentality

This idea isn’t new, but in many industries it’s a hard one to manage. Managers can find it nervewracking to give people the freedom they want when client deadlines loom.

But trusting people to meet expectations, deliver quality work and meet deadlines are crucial to building their confidence and encouraging them to take responsibility for, and measure, their own performance. 

Letting people manage their time and work processes the way they want to infuses in them a sense of their individual importance to the operation and motivates them to do their part. And the flexibility people gain from employers who trust them is invaluable: a whopping 97 percent of respondents to the 2015 FlexJobs Super Study said a job with flexibility would improve their quality of life. 

3. Understand Tenure Doesn’t Matter the Way It Used To 

Traditional thinking maintained the longer someone stayed with a company, the better it was for both the person’s career and the wellbeing of the organization. More experience must translate into more productivity, or so we thought. 

But it didn’t prove to be the case. Job-hopping is accepted now — even expected — as technology has increased the pace of change in business and society and opened up new career opportunities. Advances in technology have also helped level the playing field between new people and senior ones, as they enable new people to get on board and make real impacts on the business more quickly. 

Finally, technology has also normalized the way work is done from company to company, so it’s much easier for people to take their skills down the road to the next company if they are unsatisfied with the experience and culture at their current employer. 

Despite this new work reality, too many companies still structure benefits based on length of service. We must think differently, and creating a performance-based culture allows us to do so. 

The Individual and the Organization in Harmony

It has always been a challenge to achieve the right balance between a person’s satisfaction and organizational goals. While the challenge endures, it’s clear in today’s work environment that a culture which prizes the individual is key to success. 

We expect personalization on so many levels: in the ads and content we see on social media, in the way we configure our personal devices, in the way our banks serve us, and more. It makes sense too expect it at our jobs.

Organizations with cultures that honor and respect all people for who they are and for the unique value they bring to the company create work environments which inspire us to do a good job. These environments encourage personal development, and personal development of employees translates to organizational growth.