We have all read the studies on the influx of millennials who are expected to represent 25 percent of the workforce by 2020. We talk about how that will change business culture. This is not news to anyone, but there is strong agreement in just about every article that millennials are growing at a faster rate as a percentage of the workforce and they are looking to be managed and motivated differently than what is common practice today. I submit that the skills needed for success in the future workplace are the skills that women have been bringing to the table for hundreds of years.
Let me be clear, there are many men who possess these skills or are striving to, but research shows that women tend to rate higher in some of the softer skills that come naturally. Now that those skills matter more than ever, it’s our time to shine.
A recent study published in Harvard Business Review identified the key elements necessary to attract and retain both male and female millennials. For the sake of space, I have netted it down to what actually keeps them satisfied in a job (or why they leave!).
Those are tangible and can be checked off by any manager or company. They can be words on a mission statement or corporate overview that will certainly speak to millennials. It’s the intangibles, how we manage day to day, where I think women can make a difference.
Millennials value ongoing and meaningful feedback. Forty-two percent of millennials want weekly feedback. That is more than twice the percentage of any other generation. Studies show that women tend to be better communicators and show more empathy than their male counterparts. We are nurturers, and we were designed to thrive in a feedback-driven culture.
Millennials want balance in their lives and flexible work hours. Most women in high places got there because they were able to juggle work, friends and family. We may not have given ourselves that chance to spend more time on outside interests, but I guarantee we all wish we did. Now is the time to make amends! We are uniquely positioned to understand the value of performance over presence.
Millennials value continuous learning and development. In another Harvard Business Review study, female managers were rated much higher in the areas of self-development, development of others and inspiring and motivating people than their male counterparts.
Millennials value giving back and social responsibility. There is a reason that many nonprofits are run by women. Women by nature surround themselves with ecosystems of friends, family and co-workers whom they rely on as a collective support system that is called upon often to serve the greater good. We are givers and networkers—and watch out if we believe in a cause.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it's clear that as more and more millennials enter the workforce, the unique skill sets women bring to the management table will be crucial. This is our time and we are more valuable than ever. Seize it!
Motivating Millennials Takes More than Flexible Work Policies: https://hbr.org/2016/02/motivating-millennials-takes-more-than-flexible-work-policies
The Female Millennial: A New Era of Talent: https://www.pwc.com/sg/en/diversity/assets/female-millennial-a-new-era-of-talent.pdf