Workforce Wednesday: Workplace culture
Alaska businesses are understanding new ways to attract and retain a millennial workforce.
According to a recent report by the Anchorage Economic Development Council, the majority of Anchorage millennials say workplace culture is very important to them.
"They are 65 to 70 percent of our workforce," said Karen King, CEO and president of Spawn Ideas, an ad agency in Alaska. "They're young, they bring new ideas, they're tech savvy, they're socially minded, civic minded; they're a really important part of bringing us or keeping us current."
Spawn Ideas was recently recognized and awarded by "Ad Age" for its agency culture. King said she wants Spawn to be a place where people enjoy coming to work and feel appreciated for their ideas. The agency is employee-owned, and new moms can bring their babies into work, where they have a nursing station. Spawn also has an office robot.
"We have a robot that they [employees] can drive around the office and come into a meeting as anybody else can and do a face-to-face," King added.
Michelle Taylor, a senior account manager and millennial at Spawn, says workplace culture is very important to her.
"I think most millennials are adventurous and curious, young in their careers, and wanting to make an impact on their work from day one," Taylor said. "Coming to work and enjoying my coworkers, feeling valued I think enables us to do the type of great creative work we do. That's why people stay."
If you'd like to foster a positive workplace culture, King recommends starting with appreciation.
"Letting them have a say in what they do, giving them a lot of empowerment so they feel that they have the right and the confidence to do great work on their own," she added.
Millennials say flexibility is important too.
"Not just just the technology and being location-less, but flexibility in our approach to our work and being innovative and encouragement to be resourceful, to coming up with something new," Taylor added.
King says if business aren't doing enough to attract millennials, they will go elsewhere and Alaska will lose a big part of what can drive its economy.
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