What Preschoolers Can Teach Us About Company Culture

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

A fresh crop of employees is flooding the workforce so get your sippy cups ready because they're a whole new breed of employees.

Most companies can thank their old-school company culture for their inability to grow. The millennial generation, 80 million strong and born between 1982 and 1993, make up 60% percent of the global workforce, and are changing the way in which companies should do business. How so, you might ask? This younger crop of employees is much less willing to endure unpleasant job conditions and need a work environment that respects personal values.

With the need for flexible work arrangements, continuous praise for output efforts, and a "work family" that provides loyalty to them, old-timers might label them 'high maintenance' -- which may be a fair shake, but hear them out. The old doctrine of "work hard, and retire" had its advantages for baby boomers as their savings and wealth now makes up 70 percent of the GDP of the US. For the fresh stock of office dwellers flooding the workforce however, they have realized that retirement is a completely unattainable prospect.

Related Article: Why Company Culture Matters More to Employee Than Pay

So, if they are here for the long haul, they're going to need a nap, a company sippy cup and plenty of snack packs available in your office kitchen. 

1.They Know How to Show & Tell

Show and Tell

If it doesn't go wrong (my brother once brought in a lump of our dog's 'leavings' because he thought the big box of Crayola crayons looked better partially digested), show and tell is a way to foster innovation and enlighten.

Show and Tell a.k.a. employee education sessions like Lunch and Learn, allow your co-workers to learn about new trends, what you do each day and what new innovations are happening in the industry. It's also a chance to learn about your customers. Just skip the personal stuff. No one needs to know that you write your name on your underwear.

2. They Know How to Drink Juice Boxes

juice box

When things get heated or seem to be going around in circles, it's time for a juice box. Sit back and sip on one of Hi-C's great high-fructose corn syrup infused mocktails. I thought you turned the paid campaigns off???!!! We didn't think about a mobile strategy? Juice box time. 

If anything, drinking juice boxes might lighten the mood? Which leads me to...

3. They Know How to Fib

gremlins

 (Source: Pabridges.com)

Preschoolers fib. Teachers fib. So do parents. Can I watch TV? No, not today. The Gremlins chewed through the power cord. Can I have a snack? No, it's almost lunch time (in 3 hours). 

As long as it's not going to impact the business in a negative way, sometimes a quick fib will by time or save hours of arguments and explanations. Remember if things get heated, hit up the juice box.

4. They Love Story Time

 story time

At Business.com, we use Yammer to share industry news and knowledge. But let's be real. Not everyone looks at Yammer and if they do, sometimes they miss the point of the article. How about story time where everyone in a department gets together and reads an article together? Or an inter-office book club in which you read entreprenurial books?

Related Article: What Makes Employees Happy?

5. They Are Not Afraid to Destroy Everything or Get Unbelievably Messy

Preschool messy

Cautious is not a word when it comes to preschoolers. If there is a chance to shove a Pez dispenser in the toilet, or put paint all over their face, it's done. If playing with an object doesn't work the way they want it to, it's destroyed. Adopt this experimental philosophy in the office. If a product isn't working, destroy it and move onto the next shiny object. It doesn't get much easier than that. 

6. They Nap

Nap time

For preschool teachers, this is the moment they wait for. For toddlers, this is the moment they dread. But without naptime, they literally become little monsters.

If you are in it for the long haul, you will need a nap. There's nothing wrong with resting your mind occasionally, in fact, studies show that taking breaks improves productivity. So, maybe naptime isn't just for tots. 

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