"Away from the office, and spending most of our working time alone amongst the comfort –and/or chaos of our own homes, we went down our own rabbit hole in search of self-meaning...
The answer: personal values and purpose."
The pandemic-induced rise of our inner Millennial – and what this means for workplace wellbeing
In 2020, as COVID-19 swept the globe and lockdown measures ensued, it was as if we were all sent back to our rooms to think long and hard about what we’d done.
Confined to our local neighbourhoods, and in many instances just our immediate families (lord give us patience) – we hunkered down, stockpiled toilet paper and cheered on essential workers from our balconies. In many ways, it felt like we’d been cast back 100 years at the same time as being sent forward 10 years into the digital future to inhale all things algorithmic.
No-longer bustling into elevators with colleagues, fighting for meeting rooms and chilling at the water cooler, all corporate structure and working conventions went out the corner window.
As the realisation that this two-week inconvenience would transpire into a permanent shift in location and psyche, the line between home and work vanished and another profound hashtag moment was born – #WFH.
Like with all good reprieves, the dress standard dropped, men’s beards grew and women’s roots grew out. Buns replaced blow-dries as slippers and PJs stayed on all day as the official Zoom attire.
Celebrities took to Tik Tok without hair and makeup, stand-up comics performed without canned laughter and sporting events proceeded without fans. Things got really weird. Or perhaps for the first time, with everything stripped back, we truly saw each other.
Away from the office, and spending most of our working time alone amongst the comfort – and/or chaos – of our own homes, we went down our own rabbit hole in search of self-meaning.
The answer: personal values and purpose.
When everything’s washed away, what’s left? Who am I now? What matters to me? What do I commit to doing differently?
The Millennial reset
For Millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – purpose has always ruled the roost when it comes to buying from, or working for, a business.
If it doesn’t align with who I am, I’m out.
Case in point – a LinkedIn study suggested that 86 per cent (or almost 9 in 10) of Millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own.
Furthermore, PwC’s recent Workforce of the Future Survey, found that “25% [of employees] say their ideal employer is an organisation with values matching their own.”
Considering that Millennials will constitute 75% of the global workforce by 2025, that’s a hefty chunk of positive intention required to sustain a successful workplace. Something we all need to get right.
Purpose before profits, people
Unwilling to accept the institutionalised hangovers of the past, Millennials are leading the rebellion against bureaucracy, hierarchy and traditional corporations, challenging businesses to think and act differently and, ultimately, to lead from the heart.
None of us have been immune to the forced navel-gazing of 2020 and regardless of age, job, or title, we have all been connecting with our inner Millennial. A more conscious evaluation of our lives and what we are allowing to happen as a society.
This push-for-purpose movement is fuelled by Millennials righting the wrongs of the last generation, which bowed down to crusty, old organisations putting people into predetermined roles rather than bringing brilliance to a vision and getting out of the way to allow the magic to happen.
Juno, the power behind your purpose
The reason why Juno offers so much value as a global wellbeing platform and partner to Good Soul Hunting is because they recognise this change in us. The need to honour our personal purpose and to acknowledge our individual mindsets, interests, habits, and behaviours in pursuit of health and happiness. Juno acknowledges the ‘whole person’ and offers a service that meets us regardless of the hat we are wearing at the time: worker, parent, lover, adventurer, weekend warrior.
Bolstered by the collective rise in awareness around the magnitude of the importance of personal health, there is nothing like a pandemic to place a spotlight on a healthy body and a sharp mind. This starts to inform how we can support this new norm as we are held in place at home.
Before COVID-19, at-home wellbeing was somewhat left to our own devices. Now there is no clear divide between work and play; this siloed approach also needs to evaporate. To get the best from our teams, we now need to support the bigger agenda and a more holistic ecosystem of ‘life’. Our newly evolving needs are varied and highly personal which means we are now expected to deliver to this new god – hyper-personalisation.
Which is exactly why Juno exists to support their staff beyond the office through an integrated, holistic wellbeing strategy that offers candidates placed by Good Soul Hunting a variety of tools and frameworks they need to succeed.
A workplace revolution is upon us
A bit like the sexual revolution of the 60s, although arguably not as fun, we’re going through a cataclysmic workplace revolution. As businesses, we’ve been in cruise-control for decades and it’s taken a tantrum from the Millennials for us to stop and re-evaluate our lives.
And who can blame today’s generations for wanting to “live their best lives” every day? If we were all honest, isn’t that fundamentally what we all want? To feel happy, engaged, valued, motivated, contributing and secure in all we do and all that we have?
By becoming ‘purpose-before-profit’, companies ignite greatness in the people behind their brand, benefiting the entire human chain reaction – the employee, the team, the business, and importantly – the customer. In fact, economists at the University of Warwick found that raising people’s happiness made them more productive by between 10 to 12 per cent.
And the numbers are in.
Gallup suggests that highly engaged workplaces see a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales, while a study by Wills Tower Watson found that a strong employee experience resulted in a 4% revenue growth over a three-year period, but declined by 1% when the employee experience was low.
So, purpose really does breed productivity and profit!
Employees no longer want to blindly follow the pound signs and are far more focused on the ‘why’ not the ‘how much’. Determined to be contributors, not just paid workers, they want companies to support who they are – and to become all they can be. Healthier, happier, more productive, more successful, more fulfilled.
Achieving this means absorbing the lessons of the pandemic and, in some cases, rewriting the playbook on company culture. Accepting most employees may have a renewed or heightened sense of who they are, what they want and – perhaps more importantly – what they don’t want. Then, re-orienting your approach to meet the new world.
Rigidity of the past must be replaced with flexibility for the future. Control mechanisms need to be reset around raising human potential to enable a life-place culture that is dynamic, fun, wildly productive, and primed for growth.
An exciting destination to orient business towards alongside the reality that, if you don’t, the business down the street surely will.
Cheers to a purposeful and productive 2021.
For more information about Good Soul Hunting, the executive search company that hand-picks executive go-getters for purpose-driven health and fitness companies, visit: www.goodsoulhunting.com