The workforce is the youngest it’s ever been. Studies from Pew Research Centershow that Millenials and Gen Zers currently make up 40 percent of the workforce, and these younger adults have different expectations from their employers than their older counterparts.
What do they want more than anything else? It’s not cool technology or huge salaries. It’s a community. Millennials and Gen Zers value culture above all else because they want to be recognized as individuals and not feel like a pawn in a company game.
Here at the Digital Corps, we foster a work experience that is collaborative with additional opportunities for learning and advancement. Most of our employees fall under the Gen Z category, and that shows through how our employees interact with and treat each other.
Work environments that give employees a sense of individualism and make them feel like they are a part of something special benefits both the organization and its employees. An article from Entrepreneur said it best: “No program, activity or set of rules tops having happy and fulfilled employees who feel that what they are doing matters.”
There are a few major employee-related effects that come from a strong work community, and we are going dive into each one a little deeper.
If employees wake up excited about work, there’s a good sign an organization is doing something correctly. Creating a better work environment is the best way to build a strong employee base.
Twitter is great example of a company that does community the right way. Twitter employees enjoy rooftop meetings, friendly coworkers and a team-oriented environment in which each person is motivated by the company’s goals.
The Assistant Director of the Digital Corps, Charity Coffman, noted that happy workers equal productivity. A sense of loyalty builds a sense of togetherness that helps an organization push through tough clients, projects, and situations.
“We want everyone to feel very comfortable. We want everyone to feel open to express their ideas and their thoughts,” Charity said. “Because of that, our hierarchy is maybe not as strict as in other workforces because we want everyone’s voice to be heard.”
This fluid approach to work actually creates an organic sense of community that starts with the students and works its way up. At the Corps, our students care about putting their best foot forward because of the environment the office fosters.
New talent and retention
A salary is not the only factor that goes into the job hunt.Senior UX Specialist, Emily Steiner, went through the job hunting process this year. She received offers from three fantastic companies, boiled her choices down to two, and then went through multiple rounds of interviews before making her final decision.
The deciding factor? Community.
“[One company] offered me a way bigger salary, but I picked Kronos because of community. It was set up a lot like the Digital Corps with clusters of desks,” Emily said. “When I was in the office for the interview, everyone was really friendly and started a conversation. Whereas at [the other company] people were doing their own thing.”
Emily knew that she would be happier in Kronos’ workplace because she believes it’s important to get along with coworkers and be a part of a family than just be in it for the money.
Community is important because it impacts whether or not a company will be able to keep and gain new talent. A positive workplace fosters positive work relationships, creating higher employee engagement and more energy throughout an office.
“Having community at work makes everyone more creative and passionate about what they’re doing,” Emily said. “Here, you’re able to bounce ideas off of other people and get new perspectives on what you’re working on. That allows you to be more out-of-the-box about what you’re doing.”
Advocacy and friendship
Community creates a sense of loyalty and employee retention, but it also leads to company advocacy. It is no secret that advocating for your cause or your brand brings you countless opportunities.
Part of what sets Twitter apart from other major companies is the fact that employees never stop talking about why they love working there. They rave about being part of a company that is doing something that matters in the world, and Digital Corps employees advocate for our agency in the same way when they talk about what they’re doing in the office.
“I love talking about [the Corps] and showing people all the cool stuff I get to do with the people I get to be around every day,” Video Team Apprentice, Lochlin Peters, said. “I definitely do talk positively of the Corps outside of work.”
Lochlin’s passion for the Corps stemmed from how welcomed he felt when he started working here. As a new hire at any job, it can be intimidating to start working for an organization that you haven’t been at before.
However, the Corps’ semester-long onboarding process and open environment made the transition to working life easier for him. Lochlin had a “buddy,” someone in the office that was not a new hire, to answer any questions he had during his first few months and help him during his training. He also participated in team building exercises with the rest of the new hires to help him build relationships with employees that were in the same boat as him.
“I have to say, I love seeing all of the people here and I talk to almost all of them,” Lochlin said. “Just being able to see them all, say hi, and be around these people that I consider friends, and consider me one, is the coolest thing.”
Additionally, Lochlin said that different Corps events helped him get acclimated to the working environment. From all-employee meetings to etiquette dinners, these events give Corps employees a way to talk to people in the office they may not normally talk to.
Employees are the backbone of any business and it is important that they feel like they are a part of something special. Companies that focus their attention on their employees and what they want creates work environments that make people feel appreciated.
At the Corps, employees are included from the moment they are hired. With open workspaces, discussions, and large group activities, everyone has a chance to express their ideas and learn so many new skills along the way.
There is nothing more fulfilling than having employees that bond with each other, and are both good at and love what they are doing. No program, activity or set of rules tops having happy and fulfilled employees who feel that what they are doing matters.