By Molley Ricketts, CEO of Incipio Workforce Solutions, LLC in Louisville, Kentucky and NAWBO-Kentucky 2018-2020 Market Leader and 2019 Symposium Co-Chair
It’s not a mystery that the world around us is constantly changing. So, it’s not enough to keep doing things “the way they have always been done.” To keep up with the wave of next generation employees, it is our job as women leaders to modify our business in a way that welcomes their unique and evolved skill sets without neglecting the needs and values of older generation employees.
In some comforting ways, people never change. But the truth is, the next generation of American workers do live in a world that’s markedly different from their parents’. Most importantly, they live in a world where women are making their mark and taking charge of the business world. Women business owners, from my perspective, are faster to pivot and make changes that put them at an advantage in terms of adapting to attract and retain next generation employees by appealing to their individual work styles.
The first step in preparing for next generation workforce recruitment is to study your own employees. Just as you study the industry you’re in, you need to study the demographics of your current and future workforce to determine what they want out of work—from generation to generation. Then, you must actively use that information to make adjustments or improvements. Figure out what matters to different sets of employees. What can you do to attract younger or more experienced workers?
It’s not always enough to only consider these potential employees strictly on a work basis. Every generation of employee comes in with a different life path, and you can use those different paths to your advantage by advertising jobs that selectively appeal to each generation.
Always consider where people are in their stage of life. Younger people, for instance, typically don’t have as many outside obligations; work-wise, they are motivated by new experiences and opportunities. People in their 30s and 40s, on the other hand, often have children and mortgages and are in need of flexibility as well as growth opportunities. Retirement age workers at the end of their careers are typically not interested in training or advancement, but more interested in work-life balance.
Also important is to take a moment to reflect on how many lives your business touches. We already think of our workplaces as extended families. What about the customers and businesses you make an impression on each day? How do the services and products you render contribute to something greater? These are the kinds of things that matter to next generation employees looking to choose career paths, and more importantly, life paths. They want businesses that speak to their passions and allow them to showcase their abilities and individual assets.
A paycheck isn’t always enough to connect the cognitive thoughts in a workers’ head. You need to place your company—and the work your employees do for you—in a greater context. The greater the engagement and passion, the more effective and productive your employees will be and the more your business will thrive.