insight magazine

Millennials, Gen Z Call for Corporate Culture Changes

Firms and companies must shift long-standing business practices — or suffer the consequences. By Derrick Lilly | Summer 2018

Corporate Culture

“Millennials’ confidence in business, loyalty to employers deteriorate. Respondents yearn for leaders whose decisions might benefit the world — and their careers,” opens Deloitte in unveiling the findings of its 2018 Millennial Survey.

Indeed, reinforcing the issues highlighted in the 2018 INSIGHT Special Feature, “The Culture Conflicts,” Deloitte’s survey again shows younger generations of workers immersed in and entering the workforce are upping their pressure on firms and companies to shift long-standing business practices and reimagine corporate culture — or suffer the consequences, i.e. high turnover, employee burnout, succession challenges, lost profitability, and more. In a tightening labor market, increasingly dominated by millennial and Gen Z workers, it may be wise to reckon their warnings.

“Following a troubling year, where geopolitical and social concerns gave rise to a new wave of business activism, millennials and Gen Z are sounding the alarm,” notes Deloitte’s seventh annual Millennial Survey. “Their concerns suggest this is an ideal time for business leaders to prove themselves as agents of positive change.”

Based on the views of more than 10,000 millennials questioned across 36 countries and more than 1,800 Gen Z respondents questioned in six countries, Deloitte suggests “positive change” means businesses working towards serving a true purpose in society, increasing diversity and flexibility, and investing in developing a future-proof workforce. Here are the key takeaways.

Perceptions of Business Drop

Millennials’ feelings about business’ motivations and ethics have dropped dramatically, with only a minority of millennials believing “businesses behave ethically (48 percent vs 65 percent in 2017) and that business leaders are committed to helping improve society (47 percent vs 62 percent in 2017).”

“There continues to be a stark mismatch between what millennials believe responsible businesses should achieve and what they perceive businesses’ actual priorities to be — but where matches exist, the perception is that those companies are more successful, have more stimulating work environments and do a better job of developing talent,” the survey notes.

Diversity, Flexibility Breed Loyalty

High turnover is a business issue the accounting and finance profession has struggled with for years, but Deloitte’s survey indicates it’s likely to hamper industries globally — 43 percent of millennials and 61 percent of Gen Z respondents envision leaving their jobs within two years.

Here again, culture is the culprit. “Those who are less than satisfied with their pay and work flexibility are increasingly attracted to the gig economy, especially in emerging markets,” Deloitte notes. And while the firm acknowledges that attracting and retaining millennials and Gen Z respondents begins with financial rewards, “it is enhanced when businesses and their senior management teams are diverse, and when the workplace offers higher degrees of flexibility.”

Young Workers Express Worry

Millennials and Gen Z recognize the current and future importance of an increasingly automated and connected business world, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for it, or the changes yet to come. According to the survey, just 36 percent of millennials and 29 percent of Gen Z respondents working today believe they have the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive.

“While technical skills are always necessary, respondents are especially interested in building interpersonal skills, confidence, and ethical behavior — all of which they consider essential for a business to be successful,” Deloitte states in explaining that these generations of workers are looking for employers to take the lead in readying them for what’s ahead.

To dive deeper into these issues and more, check out the 2018 INSIGHT Special Feature, “The Culture Conflicts.”

Leave a comment