5 steps to put people first & cultivate a winning brand

5 steps to put people first & cultivate a winning brand

More and more, employers are recognizing that HR must shift its orientation from human resources to human relationships. Since the oldest Millennials entered the workplace around the turn of the new millennium, employee engagement and satisfaction has jetted to the top of executive agendas. Putting people first is the key to a winning brand. Over our three years of CultureQ® research into Brand Leadership, Good Citizenship and Favorite Brands, participants ranked treating employees well and fairly as the number-one characteristic of a good corporate citizen, and the number-two trait of a leadership brand (behind the characteristic “produces reliable, durable products and services and offers value for quality”). A 2014 CultureQ study into how people define their ideal employer revealed that Millennials (the oldest of whom are now in their mid-30’s), more so than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, seek a friendly, supportive work environment; opportunities for social engagement; a commitment to volunteerism; good values; and a leadership reputation. Deloitte, PWC, McKinsey and many others have conducted studies that have uncovered similar insights. And when the Supreme Court decision for Obergefell v. Hodges made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in the U.S. in 2015, numerous media pundits proclaimed that embracing the rainbow was smart business because Millennials were a more diverse and inclusive generation. Millennials are not the first generation looking to be treated well and fairly by their employers. Companies have contemplated ways to cultivate a happy workforce for decades, if not centuries. Indeed, since the height of the Industrial Revolution employers have equated employee benefits with the output of higher-quality products and better employee recruitment and...
The Intangible Things Employees Want from Employers

The Intangible Things Employees Want from Employers

Understand the me-to-we continuum. as printed in HBR.org There are some companies we look at, admire, and say, “Wow, I really want to work for them.” These companies understand that employees are as important as the paying customers who consume the products and services they sell. And they know that the transparency of social media means the company’s reputation is highly dependent on what its employees say. It’s never been more important for companies to treat employees well and fairly—but it has also never been more complicated to do so. With so many different generations in the workforce, each expecting different things from their employers, exactly what kind of relationships should companies be fostering with employees—and how should they go about doing so? My research (quantitative and qualitative studies of Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers as part of my company’s Culture Q project) into how cultural sentiments impact people’s relationships with brands has shown that nurturing faithful employee relationships today is no different than cultivating loyal customers. Both begin with a “me-first” orientation—that is, companies must “satisfy my wants and needs first”—and then stretch across a continuum, culminating in a “we” orientation—“address the issues that are important to my community and the broader world” (see the “me-to-we continuum” below). Just as consumers now look to do business with companies that advocate for causes they care about, employees are looking for employers who advocate for them and on their behalf for causes that matter to them. Companies are no longer “just” companies. As technology has removed the boundaries that historically divided our work and personal lives, we are now...

Can brands help Millennials feel more optimistic about the world and confident about their lives?

CultureQ research continues to show Millennials rely on favorite brands to feel more emotionally balanced and psychologically fulfilled.  Our latest insights reveal five ways brands can develop more valuable relationships with Millennials. 1. Fill the leadership void Millennials top five concerns continue to indicate they’re a generation that’s ill at ease, as uncertainty is a permanent feature of their lives. Younger Millennials (16-18) still in high school express concern about weighty global issues (the global economy, political instability, terrorism, environmental sustainability). And are fearful about how the permanent state of uncertainty impacts them personally - preserving their quality of life, achieving longer term security and/or giving their families what they need. As Millennials age and transition more into adulthood, the lack of access to affordable healthcare is a growing worry, despite the launch of Obamacare. They also express increasing concern about the environment and the lack of visionary leadership in government, overall. More and more, Millennials will gravitate to brands with propositions that empower them to feel more secure and confident about their future and that of the planet. Their loyalty is strongest toward brands that fill the leadership void and embed solutions that solve societal issues into their promise. Brands that center on healthcare, education, financial security, and personal wealth are exceptionally poised to do this. 2. Be safe enough to be real Many Millennials are struggling with social media dissonance; the term we use to describe the gap between their off and online identities. As this syndrome becomes more widespread, and exacerbated by legacies of helicopter parenting and over scheduling which have left Millennials little opportunity to...
Is your corporate culture similar to that of a Crew Team, a Country Club or a Boy & Girl Scouts Club?

Is your corporate culture similar to that of a Crew Team, a Country Club or a Boy & Girl Scouts Club?

Acts of management shape employer culture Together, each action – big or small – of the employees of a company forms our impressions of a brand. And, each act of management in turn shapes employees’ impressions of their employer. When a company’s brand – its culture and values that promote management behaviors – is relevant to employees, they are more engaged, provide better customer experiences and, thereby, ultimately enhance profitability. Recent research from CultureQ, Onesixtyfourth’s ongoing monitor of how cultural sentiment is impacting people’s relationships with brands, reveals that Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers each define their ideal employer culture differently. What is your company culture?                   Would you describe your company culture as similar to that of a Crew Team, a Country Club or a Boy & Girl Scouts Club? Your answer to this question may offer some insight to why you are or are not having a tough time attracting new recruits. Boomers tend to prefer an office environment that is positive and healthy. A culture similar to that of a winning Crew Team: recognition and acknowledgement of hard work, a team-like work ethos, the individual strengths and skillsets that need to come together to do good work, accountability and pride that comes from a job well done. Gen Xers on the other hand, are looking for a work environment that supports, enhances and thereby actualizes their lifestyle – what many envision as Silicon Valley workplace culture or what we think of as a Country Club. As detailed in our blog last month, Our changing workplace: Cultural shifts...

Our changing workplace: Cultural shifts are impacting expectations of ’employer’ brands

In an effort to learn more about how upcoming cultural shifts are impacting the workplace for a presentation of our trends to HR executives of a large multinational, we fielded a quick quantitative study.  In mid-April we asked 600 Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers in the US about what employers can do, aside from pay rises and moving to a more convenient location, to better motivate them to work for them. Specifically, we asked our respondents to tell us what their employers could to do make work more exciting and to characterize their ‘ideal employer’. Not surprisingly, all cohorts would like their current employers to offer more benefits. These include more affordable healthcare, better healthcare, including dental, etc. And, everyone wants more vacation, whether that is more vacation days, more flexible vacation time (Millennials) or paid vacation. For Baby Boomers, benefits are by far the most important thing an employer can offer - whether it be their current employer or their ideal one.  And, possibly more so than we would expect given their age and stage in life, Boomers are seeking opportunities for personal and professional development. Other CultureQ research offers some potential insight into this: some Boomers have told us they recognize they need new skills to remain relevant and others have noted that they don’t intend on leaving the workplace for some time. These sit alongside those who note they are being forced to find ‘new’ careers for a variety of reasons. What we found very interesting in our recent data was the subtle differences in the words the different generations chose to describe the characteristics they...

Is optimism about the economy having an influence on Millennials’ career choice?

We think so. As Millennials’ faith in the economy increases, their views about career paths are also shifting. While being an entrepreneur was the most appealing career path for 2012, respondents to our third annual CultureQ survey on cultural sentiment in the US and the UK were more likely to find being a corporate executive the better career option for 2014. Corporate executive is the top career choice Millennials, both those both in the workforce and those trying to join it, are more likely to say that working in a corporation and becoming a corporate executive is a more appealing career choice than being an entrepreneur, government employee/civil servant or working at a non-profit or NGO. And, except for Boomers in the UK who continue to cite an entrepreneur as the most appealing career for 2014, Gen Xers and Boomers agree. The appeal of entrepreneurialism is waning The appeal of becoming an entrepreneur has dropped across all groups most especially among Millennials in the UK (43% to 31%). Simultaneously, versus 2012, there has been a small increase in the number of Millennials in the US and the UK who believe working at a non-profit is the most appealing career, surpassing civil servant as a suitable career even among younger Americans.                 So why is this significant? As people begin to feel better about the economy,  our respondents indicate that they anticipate increasing improvement in the private sector job market. Effectively, they see less of a need to become an entrepreneur in order to earn a decent living. And, with this optimism for...
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