Our CEO, David Niu, recently joined a panel discussion at the Seattle World Trade Center to talk about employee engagement, transparency, and work culture.
(From left to right: Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht, TINYpulse CEO David Niu, and PayScale CEO Mike Metzger)
Q: What is the number one thing it takes for leaders to be great?
Niu: Being a continuous learner.
Albrecht: Having passion in every part of your work.
Metzger: It’s a constellation — it takes more than one trait.
Not surprisingly, one of the big themes of the discussion was knowing what millennials really want. Hiring and retaining millennials is imperative to a company’s success, since they are the largest generation in the workforce. And due to their rapid growth, they have a tremendous impact on employee engagement now and in future years.
Q: What is the key thing people must keep in mind about millennials?
Albrecht: It’s no longer just a tough-it-out situation like it used to be if you didn’t like a job. People aren’t judged for having three to nine jobs in a few years. At Limeade, we give employees a lot of autonomy and have a generous pregnancy and sick leave policy.
Niu: Millennials are the most diverse set of employees. In our careers page, we highlight that we give back 1% of our time and 1% of our profit to organizations in need. Once a quarter, our team takes one day to volunteer together. This helps build bridges not just in our communities but also between different employees and teams.
Metzger: The key thing we focus on is transparency. It’s free — all it takes is having a conversation. Once people know the expectations, they can decide to align with your vision or not. 70% of people who are underpaid and were told why they were being paid that wage reported being highly satisfied in their job.
Q: How can you tell if employees, particularly millennials, are happy at their jobs?
Niu: We look at their discretionary effort. Are they referring friends to work there? Are they sharing positive things about work on their social channels? It used to be that employees quit their jobs. Now we know they quit their peers. We found that the number one reason why people are happy at work is the caliber of peers.
Metzger: People want to know their ideas are in the company’s equation. We look to see if there’s a strong alignment in their vision and what people associate with in their careers. People do their best work when creating their own stress. They feel their own outcomes and want to deliver their own outcomes.
Albrecht: Are people willing to give more hours? Do they have an emotional connection to their work? We strive to create a trusting and transparent work environment. There’s a sweet spot to stress. Being stressed creates a positive response. But if you’re too stressed for too long, you’ll burn out.
Q: What did we gather from this dynamic discussion?
Metzger: If you run a survey, and you don’t reply, you’ve done more harm than good.
Albretcht: Don’t mistake window dressing for reality. How nice the appearance of an office is has nothing to do with meaning and purpose. Don’t confuse fun and surface-level things for deep purpose.
Niu: There are a lot of free things we overlook, such as giving recognition. That’s just people thanking each other. They are creating positive organizational culture on their own.