Two themes regularly emerge in organizational leadership: how to attract and retain millennials in our workplaces and how to ensure women are given equal opportunities to lead. Why are these important? Because there are about 71 million millennials in the U.S., and millennial women hold approximately two thirds of all master’s degrees, three quarters of professional degrees, and 80% of doctoral degrees. So if your workplace requires an educated workforce, you will want to pay attention!
We decided to bring these two themes together in an informal survey of women age 21-37 to answer the question: What is most important for a millennial woman to thrive and want to stay in a workplace? Here is what we found…
The top three things deemed most important to those surveyed were:
Positive work culture
Good relationships with coworkers
What can we draw from this?
1. For organizations to succeed, millennial women need opportunities.
All organizations, nonprofits and businesses alike, will need to intentionally recruit and retain millennial women if they want to have long-term success. A combination of the vast number of boomers moving towards retirement, a very low unemployment rate, and the need for educated and skilled team members places organizations at risk of a talent shortage. Leaders and owners would be wise to invest in internships to help young women gain experience and to give them opportunities to lead by encouraging them to take on new and challenging assignments. In addition, our organizations would be smart to include their voices when new ideas are tested and new initiatives are considered since they bring unique perspectives that are worthy of attention.
2. Environment matters.
The environment we create at work matters… a lot. And it doesn’t cost a dollar to create a culture that is collaborative, emotionally safe, and fun. Additionally, researchers Dr. John Kotter and Dr. James Heskett found that organizations with performance enhancing cultures experienced a 756% increase in net income over an 11-year period compared to only a 1% increase for those without such culture. (For further learning about organizational culture, consider reading The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle.)
3. People need a purpose.
God created people with a purpose. Pastor Rick Warren says it this way: “Knowing your purpose motivates your life.” People want to have purposeful work and therefore want work that matters. As leaders, we must help everyone see how their role, regardless of its nature, connects to the greater good and the bigger mission of what we do. (For further learning about a purposeful life, consider reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.)
4. Positive relationships are vital.
Relationships at work are not just an “extra” or “soft” part of our organizations. People spend over one third of their week working, and the greater the relationships are, the greater the enjoyment, emotional health, and long-term retention will be of the employee. According to Tom Rath, people with at least three close friends at work are 96% more likely to be satisfied not only with their work but also with their life! (For further learning about the importance of friendships at work, consider reading Vital Friends by Tom Rath.)
5. Compensation matters, but not as much as you think.
Compensation is and always will be important. But our informal survey matches what larger national surveys have found – compensation seldom falls in the top 2-3 reasons people take a position or stay with an organization. As Harvard Business School researchers Grant E. Donnelly and Michael Norton revealed, "The more we have of it, it seems, the more money wears off.” Money does meet needs, but it seldom buys long-lasting satisfaction in life.
To learn how to create a positive culture and work environment that will help attract and retain top talent, contact us!
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.