What Can Big Corporations Learn from the Startup World?

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You might be surprised — you could learn a thing or two from the small guys

If you’re at all familiar with trends in today’s workplaces, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that startup work is growing in popularity among millennials — especially recent graduates. But what is it about this environment that’s got these up-and-coming workers so interested? As it turns out, the CEOs from large corporations have a lot to learn from the world of startups:

Big companies need to make some serious changes if they want to increase Engagement

Companies who hope to draw new, fresh talent need to continuously evolve as the demands of workers change. That doesn’t mean they should answer to each employee’s every whim, but they need to do what they can to remain a desirable workplace.

One of the most important ways to do that is by creating an engaging work environment. According to Gallup, big companies need the most improvement when it comes to inspiring employee engagement.

The performance-management company’s recent report reveals “that the 1,000-employee mark seems to be the tipping point for declining engagement with a company. When an organization reaches this size, a smaller percentage of employees strongly agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day and that their organization's mission or purpose makes them feel their job is important. A smaller percentage also strongly agree that they have the materials and equipment to do their job right and that they have opportunities at work to learn and grow.”

Those materials could be anything from proper training techniques to access to industry conferences where employees learn what others in their line of work do to remain successful.

Encourage communication and creativity: Take ideas from all levels of the totem pole

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes — and sometimes a fresh eye can see a company’s true potential, since a new person isn’t limited to what the organization already knows. That’s why it’s important to foster an environment of respectful, open communication among all departments and roles.

According to Shawn Parr, the CEO of the design and innovation consultancy Bulldog Drummond, “Product development teams in larger companies can benefit from modeling or mimicking the individual obsession and observations of the single entrepreneur. Instead of running projects in a democratic fashion, consider remaking some of your teams into smaller, highly motivated units in order to tap into the passion and drive of your would-be entrepreneur employees.”

When your employees are connected with your brand’s vision and they’re engaged, they’re bound to be more invested and creative. And in the long run, everyone wins.

Culture shock: Invest in your employees like you expect them to invest in you

A lot of today’s workers have grown tired of offering their employers so much without getting much in return (besides a paycheck, that is). And as these employees grow less happy with their work environments, they decide to branch off and start their own companies, putting employee needs at the forefront of the new organization’s vision.

That’s why corporations need to take note of the draw that startups have for up-and-coming workers in the industry. Startups invest in the creativity of their team members, they’re often more socially or environmentally responsible, and they offer flexibility that’s in high demand, allowing employees more latitude to schedule their work around their families and personal lives. These are all changes large companies need to consider making if they want to continue to attract the most powerful talent.

Keep an eye on the competition

With more startups becoming successful in today’s economy, it’s inevitable that many of them will soon grow into the large corporations of tomorrow. And a good portion of them are going to bring their amazing culture with them. That’s one of the reasons that it’s important for large companies to be aware of and adapt to trends that will allow them to remain competitive in attracting and retaining talent.

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