Forging the Way to the Future: Millennials in the Workplace

Work that Matters is an initiative of NavWorkplace to spur discussions between Millennials in the workplace and business leaders about the practical ways that work can become and stay meaningful. We invite business leaders to share about their company and role, and we ask them to offer insights from their journey about how Millennials and companies can make work environments places where meaning is experienced and personal value is developed.  

We recently sat down with Rick Warren, CEO of Weldaloy Products Company, and discussed his thoughts on Millennials in the workplace. Watch him tell his story of how he founded his company and how his workers, a good majority of them Millenials, are changing the traditional work environment.

Faith in the Workplace

Weldaloy Products Company, founded in 1994, is a forging company that works with aluminum and copper. They create cutting-edge metal products to serve the aerospace sector, oil and gas industries, and semiconductors, just to name a few. CEO Rick Warren shared with us a little bit about how his company thrives with a Christ-centered focus.

“We are very clear when we’re recruiting people: we don’t expect you to be a Christian, but we’ll talk to you about how you are going to hear about Jesus a lot. We’re very upfront about it.” Warren actively encourages Bible reading at work. In fact, there are Bible studies offered on-campus almost every day of the week. He even employs a full-time chaplain to assist in meeting the employees’ spiritual needs during the workday. All of these are voluntary and left up to the employee to decide on attendance, but he has seen interest grow over the years and the excitement can be contagious.

“We integrate God into business without a problem. Earlier in life, I thought business and God were separate. But you need to be the same at work as you are anywhere else. We try to bring Jesus to the workplace.”

Warren has found that the more you can get your employees to feel ownership over what they’re doing, the more connected they feel, which results in happier, harder-working people. Incorporating faith into the workplace is a big part of that. Maintaining a Christ-centered workplace brings a level of meaning and authenticity to the company that can’t be achieved any other way.

One of the most extraordinary and notable things about Weldaloy Products Company is that they literally donate over half of their profits to God’s work. The focus of this generosity is on their own surrounding community. These community roots run deep, and they encourage their employees to participate in local volunteer service alongside them. It brings a level of real purpose the business that has an eternal impact.

Millennials in the Workplace

Interestingly, Warren has observed that Millennials are self-conscious about sharing their faith and less willing. But Millennials bring a unique level of authenticity to the workplace. They want sincerity and are repulsed by hypocrisy. This leads to employees with a strong moral compass, integrity, and interpersonal sensitivity that is unique to their generation. “Millennials have a better sense of who they are and what’s important to them.” 

“If it’s just about the money and making a living they [millenials] won’t stay very long. Which is so different from my generation.”

Their unique and diverse backgrounds can bring fresh ideas to a workplace. Millennials are not afraid to try new things and new ways of doing things. They aren’t so afraid to fail. “We would rather people take chances than doing what they’ve always done.” By embracing this refreshing philosophy, Weldaloy Products Company is putting themselves at the cutting edge of exciting new projects. Recently, some of their hand-forged parts went into space on Space X’s newest rocket. They are also working hard on green initiatives to minimize waste and preserve the environment, and invest daily in their surrounding community.

One of the greatest things that Warren admires about his millennial employees? Their work/life balance and sense of self.

“Once you make a conscious decision of who you really are, your priorities, and that you will live that way no matter where you are, then there’s greater peace.”  

If you are a Christian in a secular workplace, “You don’t need to be ashamed about faith. Live out your faith on a daily basis and ask God to guide and direct you. The fruit of the Spirit is obvious to those around you.”