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Creating and sustaining a highly engaged company culture in a multigenerational workplace

John Blattner (PAS International, Inc., Downers Grove, IL, USA)
Thomas J. Walter (Tasty Catering, Elk Grove Village, IL, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how organizations can create and sustain a highly engaged, high performing company culture, one that fully integrates and leverages the strengths of boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.


Once a company run with a command and control approach, Tasty Catering leadership was confronted by its younger generation, mid-level leaders who said, “We no longer wanted to be told what to do”. Instead, they wanted to be given clearly defined tasks with identified outcomes and measures, and the freedom to pursue those goals how they so choose. In short, they wanted to change from “command and control” management to “team” leadership. After considerable thought, Tasty Catering leadership decided to embrace this creative destruction and the transformation began. From all employees reading Good to Great and breaking into teams to discuss applicability to the company to employee-led development of company culture starting with core values, the leadership team witnessed the beginning of something they realized was going to take their organization to new heights. This case study will outline key steps for leaders and HR leaders with lessons learned and tips for success as they transform with team leadership, open-book management and engaging younger workers.


Business and HR leaders should consider assessing their organizational culture and effectiveness to gain a baseline and make measurable improvements. PAS International administered Tasty Catering’s assessment using the Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI®) and the Organizational Effectiveness Inventory® (OEI®), finding a rare and very strong match up of ideal and current operating culture for both employee and leadership segments in an organization. The results of the assessment, normed against more than a thousand other organizations, validate Tasty Catering’s healthy, high performing work environment.


The culture-based leadership model and financial transparency led and implemented by Tasty Catering’s younger workers are examples of workplace practices that enable high employee involvement, growth, development and recognition. The company’s cultural efforts continue to pay off in high staff morale, as well as a 14 percent rise in sales and a 117 per cent increase in profits last year. Recognizing the importance of sustainability and continuous improvement, all of Tasty Catering’s employees, those representing every generation, are constantly identifying the best and new ways to maintain their strong culture and performance link.



Blattner, J. and Walter, T.J. (2015), "Creating and sustaining a highly engaged company culture in a multigenerational workplace", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 124-130.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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