In a world where we are used to comparing our appearance to models on Instagram, have we begun to treat our working lives in the exact same way?
Our social feeds are brimming with videos of people at their swanky offices, sipping their lattes, and attending fancy company events. Our own working lives can often feel dull and inadequate in comparison. It’s no wonder then that many of us feel there must be something better out there.
But let’s backtrack for a minute. Let’s have a look at how people lived their lives 40 or 50 years ago. Back then, people found their sense of purpose through church or charity, and their sense of belonging through being part of a community – having their neighbours round for dinner and knowing most of the people that live on their street. Work was the place where people went to make money, to pay their bills.
Nowadays, where you work has become so much more than that. Fewer people go to church, many don’t even know their neighbours, and community centres are often sadly empty. We are missing out on the things that we used to rely on to get our needs met, so what do we do? We look to work to solve our problems. In today’s world, a workplace needs to provide its employees with not only a pay-check and comfortable working conditions, but also a sense of community, a purpose, and a social life.
Coming out of Covid, we have started to demand even more. Work now needs to give us the freedom to work when and where we like, to access therapy, to agree with our personal politics, and to stand against the same issues that we stand against. We are demanding more than ever from our workplace culture.
At the same time, another situation is unfolding: evidence is showing us that younger generations are not afraid to quit. Gen Zs regard quitting with far less stigma than previous generations, and will put their wellbeing above staying in an unhappy and unfulfilling workplace environment. This means that if they are not getting their needs met, they are not afraid to leave in search of somewhere where they will.
So, what’s the solution? Is it for companies to work tirelessly in order to try and meet an inexhaustible list of demands? Is it for companies to accept that the retention rate of younger generations will keep declining, and find ways to work around this?
Or, is there another way? What if, companies didn’t keep trying to ‘fill the gaps’ that employees continuously ask them to fill (having free barista coffee and a ping pong table rarely make a difference to actual culture). Instead, what if we invest in teaching our employees how to fill these gaps, and get their needs met, themselves? What if companies taught their employees how to take ownership for their own lives, and, in doing so, genuinely improved the company culture?
At Ivy House, we firmly believe that if you teach your employees how to ‘work’ for themselves, then you will astronomically improve the likelihood of them working hard for you, and staying loyal to your company. Empowering your employees this way will also relieve you of the never-ending pressure to update your company culture, every time the world demands something new from the workplace.
Instead of trying to keep up with culture trends, why not invest in your people – because it’s the people who will ultimately decide your culture.