Let’s take a moment to explore the culture Dreamworks has created. Of their 2,200 employees, roughly 25 percent are millennials and they have an incredible 96 percent retention rate. They are a large and creative powerhouse that has produced some of the most popular family movies. Additionally, they also have some pretty unconventional approaches to how they treat their workforce.

For instance, employees can grab free food on campus and take classes like yoga, karate, sculpting and more during work hours. According to reviews online, you could walk up to just about any employee and hear about how great the people are that work there as well.

While it seems on the surface that campus perks are the reason for retention, when you dig down deeper, there’s a lot more going on than what meets the eye.

Here are 3 important principles that Dreamworks uses that you can apply to your business too:

1. Invest in others

It was Benjamin Franklin that said “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” That could not be more true when it comes to working with millennials and Dreamworks has figured this out. So while the perks are pretty nice, it’s more the overall investment of their people that is really keeping them there.

In fact, a Gallup study shows that 87 percent of millennials say that professional development and career growth are significant to them. Combine that with the statistic that proves companies with solid training and development programs have 218 percent higher productivity and 24 percent higher profit margins, and you have a dynamic duo on your hands.

Dreamworks may treat their employees well, but it’s for good reason. You can completely borrow this principle if you consider what you can do to invest in those around you. It could be employees or even just your clients, but one thing is for sure, investing in the growth of others will be a hit no matter what generation they are.

“For our own success to be real, it must contribute to the success of others.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Plan for change

Dreamworks understands that people are what make the workplace, and if we love those we work with, we will be more productive, creative, and happier to go to work. This is where the millennials are thought of as being picky when it might just be something we could all embrace more of: change.

In fact, an article from Time Magazine points to this pretty clearly. It says “Tom Brokaw, champion of the Greatest Generation, loves millennials. He calls them the Wary Generation, and he thinks their cautiousness in life decisions is a smart response to their world. He continues by saying “Their great mantra has been: Challenge convention. Find new and better ways of doing things.”

So while some complain about millennials in the workplace, Dreamworks is embracing their thoughts and challenges. They are willing to accept new ideas and see where processes and products can be improved. Millennials aren’t necessarily wanting things their way, they are just recognizing the importance of innovation in a world where everything is moving so fast.

You might be tempted to leave well enough alone and not consider how things could be better. However, the new workforce is clearly pushing boundaries and it will help you if you prepare for it. Plan for change since it is, after all, the only constant in the world today.

Consider the things you have always done the same way and open yourself up to the possibility of doing something differently. Growth happens when we get outside our comfort zone and challenge ourselves.

3. Build your own culture

A great culture is something you will find at any “Best Place to Work” company these days. The best part for most entrepreneurs is that culture is actually far easier to build the smaller your company is. So while larger companies like Dreamworks can provide the campus perks, it’s the culture that people stick around for.

A recent study showed that a high-trust culture is important for millennials in the workplace. In fact, 95 percent of millennial employees report that work/life balance is important to them. This leads to more creativity, productivity and the slow building of a great culture.

The interesting thing is, companies that build great cultures tend to have employees that see the workplace more as a second family.

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” – Simon Sinek

“Perhaps the most important reason I’ve been happy at Vanderbloemen for five years is because I love the people I work with. We’ve been intentional about building a contagious culture where the company and its people thrive. We’ve become a “family” that loves and supports each other, both inside and outside of work,” says Holly Tate, a millennial with more than 5 years tenure.

No matter the size of your company, culture wins. It’s the calculated, yet simple act of being intentional with your hires, placement and even the clients you work with.

Borrow from this success as a reminder to develop trust with those around you as much as possible. Take clients and employees to lunch for no reason or host an event for them. Build a culture where the people around you matter and you’ll find yourself well on your way to building the culture that works for you.

The Takeaway

As an entrepreneur, you are a driving force of innovation in the world. Your ideas and passions are needed to create a better future and build a better workplace for those coming behind you. The most important thing you can learn from this is to consider new ideas as a way to improve on what has been done for so long.

Consider what Dreamworks has achieved so you learn from it, but also recognize that their culture will include things that yours will not. All the perks and high salary in the world can’t replace the overall great culture you have the opportunity to build.

Find creative ways to invest in people and they will invest in you. By adopting these 3 principles into your business, you’ll be able to slowly build your company the way you want it while still providing a great experience for employees and clients alike.

What makes a great work culture? Let us know your thoughts below!


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