Trends in Corporate Culture: Focus on the Employee Experience

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Trends in corporate culture are paving the way for HR leaders to make positive changes in both large and midsized organizations around the globe. Many of these trends lean toward making the overall employee experience a more crucial aspect of recruitment and retention. With the rise of the Millennials in the workforce, a generation noted for valuing benefits and atmosphere over compensation, it's critical that all organizations have the resources in place to remain competitive when it comes to culture.

Emphasis on the Employee Experience

One of the most powerful trends in corporate culture involves the dramatic shift from focusing on each employee's contribution to the organization to focusing on the employee experience within the organization. Consider what Anthony Smith, the CEO and Founder of Insightly, a CRM solution for small businesses, says about improving the overall experience of employees, in an article for Business News Daily, "Clear and frequent communication on company happenings, individual and department direction, and big-picture company direction make all the difference in employee happiness."

Airbnb is a great example of an organization that values employee experience. Their CHRO, Mark Levy, has been retitled the Global Head of Employee Experience, according to Forbes. He develops and promotes programs geared toward enhancing employee engagement.

When Levy essentially redesigned his role around improving employee engagement, it was driven from a desire to redo HR systems to create an improved work environment where employees would thrive. "We have to look after both our hosts who open their homes [and] also the guests who are staying. [This] all comes to life through our employees," he said in an HRM Canada article. This "inside out" perspective of taking care of employees first is helping this home rental organization reach its projected earnings of $900 million for 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Building Corporate Culture with Unique Perks

Organizations are also engaging employees through their experience by offering unique perks that go beyond additional health benefits or on site wellness programs. For example, according to The Muse, San Francisco-based Boost Media, a digital marketing agency, provides themed retreats and corporate parties for their employees. myWebRoom, a content bookmarking software organization, provides free rides and late-night meals in addition to unlimited vacation time to compensate for long hours getting new products and features launched on time.

In both of these cases, the organizations honor the needs and values of their employees. Younger generations of workers have come to expect more from their employers, so offering free transportation, meals and even social events will increasingly become part of the normal fabric of the corporate culture.

Learning and Development

An emphasis on employee learning and development is another trend on the rise. According to a Deloitte University Press survey, "more than two-thirds [of Millennials] believe it is management's job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities in order for them to stay."

According to Fortune, strong examples of this trend include organizations like Hallmark, which has created development programs focused on delivering the next generation of female leaders, and California-based Advantage Answering Plus, a mid-size organization that provides answering services, which offers all of its employees leadership training and opportunities to explore and complete certifications.

Employees in organizations that stress continued education are encouraged to share that knowledge with peers, and this in turn fuels the development of the future leaders of the organization. As Baby Boomers and executive leadership teams move on to other aspirations, the exchange of business knowledge will be critical to the longevity of every organization.

Standing Out From the Competition

If an organization wants to grow and attract the best people, then it must be able to provide features that rise above the competition. In an employee-focused corporate culture, that means finding out what appeals the most to employees and then incorporating those features into the corporate culture. A culture that keeps employees happy while providing ample encouragement and opportunity for development is a win-win for both employees and the organization.