Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Retention Problem Facing CEOs Today:
Is there a Solution to the Millennial Challenge?

"There is this constant dynamism in the workforce that is very very hard to build the right [parts] of platform and environment for people to [accomplish] what they want."
~ Aaron Levie, CEO Box
Image Collage by PeapodLife: Millennials in the Workplace 

In a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, Jim Moffatt of Deloitte and Aaron Levie of Box agreed that attracting and retaining Millennial talent is a major issue for their respective organizations.

As reported by Carolyn Fairchild, New Economy Editor @ LinkedIn, in her recent article: These Problems Keep Both The CEO Of Deloitte And Box Awake At Night

“Moffatt is working to empower young employees to stay at the firm longer by giving them more diverse work, Levie is grappling with the challenges of running a 1,300-person workforce with the average age of 25 or 26.” Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/problems-keeps-both-ceo-deloitte-box-awake-night-caroline-fairchild
“It is very apparent that managing and attracting this demographic of workforce is certainly interesting especially in Silicon Valley,” Levie said. He cited the ever increasing number of companies competing for top talent, and Millennials’ acclimatization to rapid development and succession.

"This generation is very very accustomed to moving quickly ahead in every part of their life and when they get to work and things move slowly and they can't get ahead quickly it impacts their ability to stay," he said. Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/problems-keeps-both-ceo-deloitte-box-awake-night-caroline-fairchild

Image Collage: CEOs discuss challenges at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles; 
inset: Carolyn Fairchild, New Economy Editor @ LinkedIn 

So Millennial turnover rates may be high in Silcon Valley, but could the same be true in Canada? To find out, we turned to Mike Snyders, Senior Partner at Future Focus, Inc.—specializing in human resources  and human capital strategies in the Waterloo Region.

“Generation over generation learns how to manage each new generation that follows,” Snyders said. “How do we understand what their motivators are? How do we lead to motivate and develop new talent while maintaining business fundamentals?”

Snyders acknowledged the challenges faced by high-tech companies in the Waterloo Region are similar to those faced by companies in Silicon Valley—and just about everywhere. Many of the unique workplace environments we see in high-tech companies are trying to cater to what millennials are looking for. The key for employers, Snyders said, is to find the right balance between what Millennials want and what the business needs.

“Millennials are motivated differently. Their issue is work-life balance. Yes, you can retain people better by creating a work-life balance in the workplace, but can you stay productive? You need the structure in place. If it’s not managed right, it becomes a fun place, but not a workplace,” he said.

Just how do hi-tech companies’ office environments differ from the typical workplace?

Consider Auvik’s renewal of the Waterloo building formerely known as Blackberry 5. As part of their painful restructuring, Blackberry sold the building to flamboyant Dragon’s Den judge and investor Michael Wekerle. Wekerle was one of the investors involved in Blackberry’s 1997 IPO.

The mostly colourless, cubicle-infested space has been undergoing a transformation into a more lively and optimistic space. The 30-member start-up now enjoys a more open environment, featuring:
  • accent walls painted in intense Auvik purple
  • a bear mural and other flourishes by Ontario artist Chris Austin
  • hand-painted signs displaying the company’s seven core values
  • cardboard cut-outs of ‘key customers’
  • a well-stocked cache of Nerf weaponry
Source: news.communitech.ca: Communitech News: Auvik poised to grow in bright, rejuvenated space
Image Collage by PeapodLife: Auvik’s Unique Office Elements
Photos Credit: Anthony Reinhart 

All hi-tech firms seem to have their own take on the ‘unique’ workspace. It’s a reflection of the culture of the firm, and this in many ways reflects Millennials’ attitudes toward personal style.

Style versus Substance

Echoing the sentiments of Mike Snyders, there is a danger for these well-meaning companies that the pendulum may swing a little too far in the other direction, resulting in a very ‘fun’ place, where very little ‘work’ actually gets done.

While many of the creature comforts Millennials may find enticing and attractive on the surface, one cannot deny that success is also a primary motivator for them. As well, high-performance and personal accomplishment cannot be overlooked as a motivating factor.

So what is there which simultaneously comforts and stimulates? What phenomenon has a proven track record of MILLENIA (speaking of Millennials) of simultaneously relaxing and inspiring new ideas, approaches, innovations, and invigorating individuals to pursue their revolutionary new ideas?

One word: nature.

It is undeniable that nature has played a critical part in inspiring everything from Newton’s Law of gravity to Beethoven’s 5th symphony to Einstein’s theory of relativity. But one look need no further than one’s own experience.

You know that feeling you experience in nature? You know that refreshed and recharged feeling. You know how it clears your mind and settle your nerves. There’s nothing else like it.

PeapodLife helps you have that refreshing feeling in your office environment.

In terms of creating a ‘feel good work environment’ which is both comforting and stimulating; one which boost BOTH work-life balance and productivity, an high-order rainforest ecosystem from PeapodLife is beyond compare.

It’s the feeling only nature can give you. Now imagine having that refreshing nature-feeling in your boardroom or in the staff cafeteria 24/7, 365 days a year. Imagine an ecosystem actively working all day, every day, boosting your Team’s happiness and efficiency to a whole new level. 

That’s certainly what Canada Life Insurance experienced. A few short weeks after installing an ecosystem in their boardroom, they began to notice profound improvements to meetings. Six months later, that boardroom was booked solid with a long waiting list.

Image: Canada Life boardroom living wall and aquarium, Toronto

As for Panasonic, revenue increased after outside salespeople started holding their sales meetings inside their staff cafeteria ecosystem.

Image: Panasonic Canada - cafeteria ecosystem

Just imagine the feeling of working in a climate-controlled rainforest environment. Static pictures can only do so much, so here’s an ecosystem in motion

Video by PeapodLife: Fitch Street Living Wall EcoSystem 6-Month Update 

But not even a video can do our rainforest environments justice. No technology can replace the feeling only nature can provide.

Put the power of nature in motion for your business today, and watch the transformative capabilities of the rainforest create an environment that Millennials will want to live, work, grow, develop, innovate and succeed in. 

Connect with PeapodLife today for more information.

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