Creating and maintaining an effective culture takes hard work and attention, so why then does senior management spend so little time managing it and improving it?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This phrase, attributed to the late Peter Drucker, serves as an important idiom for purpose-led organisations today.

Purpose is more than just a business buzzword; purpose is critical to survival and sustained growth. However, despite the importance of having a culture that aligns to a business’s strategy, few senior executives spend time managing and improving it; indeed, the importance of corporate culture is broadly accepted, but few organisation translate that understanding into action.

Why is corporate culture important?

Culture can take many years to build, and mere months to dissolve when executives are distracted and loose sight of what their company’s true purpose.

Not only is culture a differentiator that sets businesses apart from their rivals, but it also serves to attract new talent and loyal customers.

More and more, employees want to work for companies that share their values; in other words, they want an organisation to have a purpose beyond profit.

An enterprise with a strong sense of purpose inspires staff of all generations to pour energy, enthusiasm and excitement into their work; it becomes contagious, and the subsequent improvement in employee engagement impacts results.

For millennials workplace culture is key

As the millennial generation becomes a larger part of the workforce, many organisations are struggling with how to attract and retain them in the workplace.

The prevailing narrative associated with millennials is that this is a generation raised by helicopter parents that have all the traits associated with entitled narcissists, little interest in conventional careers and no loyalty to any employer.

Perhaps the most common stereotype of a millennial is that they are “job hoppers” ready to throw in the towel unless their companies pander to adopting the latest technology and provide flexible working options. However, the generalisations about millennials largely collapse under scrutiny.

Having lived through the difficult times associated with delicate economy and saddled with near-crippling student debt, many millennials actually want the security and stability of a long-term career, and, as is the case with all generations in the workforce, want to feel valued, informed, and connected.

Where millennials may differ is in their leadership style.

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Having witnessed a lot of change in the world, perhaps they will be more adaptable in senior positions. They will most certainly create an inclusive environment because they have been taught that diversity in opinion is just as valuable as accepting diversity in society.

Millennial leaders are more likely to prioritise values, ethics, and purpose; however, by and large the generational attitudes around work have few differences.

A well-defined organisational mission and purpose, in conjunction with a culture of rewarding contribution, collaboration and creativity will enhance the workforce. In an ever-changing business environment where global competition, technological innovation, and economic uncertainty combine to make markets radically and persistently unpredictable, flexibility is paramount and consequently, investing in developing the right corporate culture is an imperative.

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