Millennials are beginning to move into the workforce in great numbers, and they are changing the way organizations operate. For Millennials, the culture they work within is of paramount importance because they are more culturally minded and cause driven (Moritz, 2014). Since culture is clung to as a part of establishing an organizational identity, one way Millennials get a glimpse of an organization’s identity is through the employee handbook (Schein, 2010).
Culture is considered to be “the way things are done around here” (Edwards et al., 2014) and exposure to an employee handbook allows new Millennial employee to get a good feel for an organizational culture; if the handbook is an accurate reflection of the culture of the organization. This makes it important for organizations to update the handbook to accurately portray the organizational culture. If the culture of an organization is attractive to a Millennial employee, but the handbook portrays an unattractive culture, it can create unnecessary apprehension the new employee will need to work through (Moritz, 2014).
Organizations seek to fill key positions with people who have similar beliefs, values, and assumptions necessary for future growth and survival (Schein, 2010), and having an employee handbook that accurately portrays the organization culture will help make this a reality. In order to make this mechanism work, leaders must be able to identify the gap between the actual culture and the portrayed culture in the handbook (Schein, 2010).
Culture is the most important driver of organizational performance (Losey, Meisinger, & Ulrich, 2005), and Millennial employees are first exposed to the culture through the employee handbook. If the culture portrayed in the handbook is dismal and inaccurate, leaders need to make an adjustment to the handbook to accurately portray the culture. If it is dismal and accurate, leaders must find a way to change the culture to insure success in the future.
Edwards, M., Penlington, C., Kalidasan, V., & Kelly, T. (2014). PROFESSIONAL ISSUES. Culture change, leadership and the grass-roots workforce. Clinical Medicine, 14(4), 342–344.
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Losey, M., Meisinger, S., & Ulrich, D. (2005). The Future of Human Resource Management: 64 Thought Leaders Explore the Critical HR Issues of Today and Tomorrow (1 edition). Alexandria, Va. : Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Moritz, B. (2014). How I Did It: The U.S. chairman of PwC on keeping Millennials engaged. Harvard Business Review, (11), 41.