Netflix employees can now take unlimited paid parental leave. The day after Netflix announced this news on August 4th, Microsoft made a similar announcement, saying it was to align benefits to its culture in a statement that included the quote, “We’re enhancing our paid Parental Leave to 12 weeks, paid at 100 percent, for all mothers and fathers of new children.“
What is the cause of this trend towards better benefits? I believe such changes have a lot to do with the new generation. Many companies are working on their 2020 plan. One of the driving force is the anticipation of more Millennials (1981-2000) joining the workforce.
Last week, I was on a panel discussion about “Company Culture and Millennial retention”. During the discussion, several millennials shared dissatisfaction about the way they were treated at the work place. They shared their expectation to be respected. They expressed that entrepreneurship option would make them less inclined to remain loyal to a company that doesn’t value their perspective or contributions. Unsurprisingly, the older generation in the room took defense to these statements, countering with the idea that, “Respect is earned, and entrepreneurship is not an easy road to success.” It is a reflection of generational differences.
From my research and my personal experience as a mother of three, here are the characteristics of Millennials: They are tech savvy, entrepreneurial, and enjoy instant gratification. They pick up learning through their mobile phones instantly. They share their life with their friends intimately. They want to enrich their life experience and pursue meaningful contributions to the world. Their core values are efficiency, experience, contribution, partnership, learning, technology, and relationships.
The old belief that “If you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, you will be happy” is not the creed of the Millennial. Millennials are happy when they make a difference or when they explore a new life experience. For example, my daughter joined Teach for American and started to teach inner-city kids when she was 21. She is happy because of the difference she makes in the lives of disadvantaged youth. Helping her students overcome educational inequity is her mission.
What kind of corporation culture won’t work for Millennials?
- “This is the way we do things here.”
- “Your job is to make your boss look good.”
- “Be loyal to the company and you will get rewarded.”
- “Don’t rock the boat.”
Regardless of a company’s vision and mission statement, its unique culture is guided by a set of core values that are in practice within the company itself. When a new generation comes into the work force with their own core values, it’s wise to integrate these values into a company’s culture in order to retain talents. I am glad to see Netflix and Microsoft take action now instead of putting it into a 2020 plan.
So, what other trends can we anticipate as Millennial continue entering the workforce?