While company culture may seem harder to characterize and cultivate in this new era of virtual work, defining your company’s culture is vital to your employee retention and hiring process.
After interviewing over 1,000 candidates throughout my career, I have found that culture fit is the most critical component in a smart, lasting hire. Considering the growing labor shortage, the Great Resignation and the high costs associated with employee turnover, attention to potential employees’ varying workplace culture preferences is required to experience growth and maintain highly motivated, passionate workers.
Workzinga, a new job search platform emphasizing culture fit that we’re launching in 2022, surveyed 2,501 U.S. adults to gauge the importance of company culture and determine employees’ preferences based on generation.
The survey revealed differences in each generation’s preferred work environment, rules, leadership styles, and key motivators. Though ideal culture differs across generations, 85% of all respondents, regardless of age, have one thing in common: a good company culture fit is imperative when looking for a new job. Also, respondents tend to stay in jobs that are a great culture fit more than twice as long, which cuts down on the high costs associated with employee turnover.
As the need for compatible company culture is universal, employers need to be mindful of these generational differences as they hire new employees and make company-wide decisions.
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The survey found that older generations tend to be more risk-averse than younger generations, with 84% of Baby Boomers and 75% of Gen X’ers preferring cultures that play-by-the-rules over those that advocate for risk-taking.
On the other hand, younger generations tend to be more risk-tolerant, with 40% of Gen Z’ers and 32% of Millennials opting for a risk-taking culture.
Collaborative vs. Independent Environments
Our study also revealed a connection between an employee’s age and their preferred nature of work. While the majority of Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials tend to be strong proponents of collaborative work, 51% of Gen Z’ers opt for environments with more independence.
As remote work opportunities become increasingly more available, we anticipate that the desire for independent work will continue to grow amongst this generation.
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Workplace flexibility is also highly valued among younger generations, as 51% of Gen Z’ers and 47% of Millennials consider flexible schedules to be very important, compared to only 37% of Gen X’ers and 33% of Baby Boomers.
And why do we believe employers should consider generational preferences and create work environments that cater to these needs? We can answer this by looking at what happens when employees don’t find what they’re looking for in company culture.
When culture fit is off between an employee and their company, it hinders their productivity, creativity and motivation, causing their performance to falter and their disconnection with the company to begin.
Additionally, 80% of survey respondents stated that working in a job that was a poor culture fit negatively impacted their mental well-being.
These adverse effects may cause employees to pursue other employment options and ultimately leave their jobs, with the majority of respondents reporting they will only stay at a job for one to two years if it is not a good culture fit.
As turnover is costly, employers need to pay close attention to the culture fit between their company and each employee, as well as make a deliberate effort to weave this into their hiring process.
While company culture is not one-size-fits-all, the need for a good culture fit is something that every generation has in common. If employers want to experience sustainable growth, they should work to define their culture and ensure a good culture fit before hiring a new employee.
Workzinga’s new job search and hiring platform was created for that exact purpose—to foster authentic conversations between employers and candidates at the beginning of the hiring process to find an enduring culture fit.
Dan Hunter is the founder and CEO of Workzinga.com, a job search platform emphasizing company culture fit launching in early 2022.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: How companies can create a healthy work culture for all generations