Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Top Workplaces Create Strong Cultures While Maintaining Flexibility

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Top Workplaces Create Strong Cultures While Maintaining Flexibility

Article excerpt

Figuring out what it takes to create a strong workplace isn't exactly rocket science.

Experts will tell you it's all about creating a culture where employees feel valued. Where pay is almost a secondary consideration. Where workers enjoy spending time with their bosses and co-workers and seldom look for jobs elsewhere.

Of course, managers dealing with the realities of a modern workforce know that it's easier to talk about creating a top workplace than it is to accomplish the task. After all, this is a world where the needs and expectations of workers vary greatly from one to the next.

Recognizing this can be critical to finding employees who will best fit within the culture of a given company, said Jim Breaugh, management professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

"You need to think about who you are trying to recruit," Breaugh said.

Indeed, one of the more challenging dynamics in the modern workplace is the mingling of several distinct age demographics and the things they expect from an employer. We have offices and workplaces where baby boomers and Generation Xers are being joined by young millennials.

The best companies and managers realize that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot accommodate the needs and demands of those groups, said Patricia Mathews, a Sarasota, Fla.-based workplace consultant.

"We've reached an age where management skill training is critical," Mathews said. "You can't treat employees in a black-and- white way. You have to be flexible."

Millennials, in particular, are creating challenges for companies chasing these workers.

They expect praise and feedback daily, rather than once a year during annual evaluations. They want jobs where they have the opportunity for skill improvement. And they want to believe in their bosses.

"If they feel they can't trust their leaders, they're less likely to stay," Mathews said.

The intricacies of dealing with these younger workers surfaced during a recent breakfast seminar by the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

The breakfast featured a panel of representatives from several of the area's well-regarded employers, including Edward Jones, a Top Workplaces regular.

David Young, one of the firm's principals, talked about millennials and their impact on the workplace. …

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