The Millennial View: How to Bring your ‘Whole Self’ To Work

Our focus this month is on engaging our next generation of leaders: millennials. So for this article we spoke to professionals in their late 20s and early 30s to find out what they expect from an inclusive workplace culture today.


‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken’


When speaking to our millennial contributors, all agreed on one point: ‘We want to bring our whole selves to work.’ But what does the phrase actually mean?

Being able to bring your ‘whole self’ comes down to a workplace culture where it is safe to be yourself. It is about being seen, heard, and valued – not just for what you do, but for who you are.

It is vital that leaders ‘recognise that we have lives away from work and that often family has to come first.’ Employers can best do this, one of our millennials suggested, ‘by being open to part-time roles and/or very flexible working arrangements.’

Another of our contributors advised leaders to ‘take an interest in our professional development and find a way to make us and the work we do valued. A pay cheque alone,’ she went on, ‘is simply not enough.’

Interestingly, a number of the millennials we spoke to valued an inclusive workplace over salary: ‘Culture is more important than pay.’

Here are some more of the ways New Zealand companies are empowering their employees to bring their ‘whole selves’ to work:

  • The Rainbow Tick accreditation is awarded to workplaces that show that they understand, value, and welcome sexual and gender diversity. Global Women partners who have been awarded the Rainbow Tick include SkyCity and Fletcher Building (Principal Partners), and ANZ, Spark and Westpac (Major Partners).
  • A number of firms, including Global Women Principal Partner PwC have a ‘dress for the day’ policy, recognising that when we feel comfortable, and more ourselves, we work better.
  • Earlier this month the Kiwi Asia network at Global Women’s Support Partner Air New Zealand’s hosted a Diwali celebration. ‘We danced, ate, celebrated culture and spent time together,’ says Diversity and Inclusion Manager Charlotte Downes.
  • Westpac understands that employees cannot be productive at work without being happy and engaged at home. To recognise its comprehensive domestic violence programme, Westpac was awarded the DVFREE Tick by Shine.