By Callie McGill
Ambitious, tech-savvy, confident and educated—these terms are often used to describe millennial women. So it’s no surprise that they’re a highly sought-after demographic in the workforce.
Large corporations may be able to beat small businesses in terms of salaries and benefits, but this doesn’t mean small businesses can’t appeal to and compete for dynamic female millennial talent. In fact, many aspects of working for a small business are particularly appealing to millennial women.
Here are four ways your small business can appeal to millennial women in the workforce.
Offer entrepreneurial opportunities
A recent survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers found that 77% of millennials want to work for themselves. While many still find themselves working for someone else, small businesses can use that entrepreneurial drive to their advantage by creating innovative roles, products and services.
Small businesses have an advantage over large corporations because they can make and implement decisions almost immediately, rather than waiting on levels of authorization and red tape.
As a business owner, offer your star employees the opportunity to work closely with you and be involved in decision making. When you encourage employees to take initiative and think like an entrepreneur, not only will they grow professionally, but they’ll also take your business higher.
Provide professional development and career growth opportunities
Millennial women may want to start their own businesses, but funding opportunities aren’t always there. Female business owners historically haven’t had the same access to capital as their male counterparts and often have to be creative when seeking funding.
In fact, according to Catalyst, more than half of millennial women believe their gender negatively impacts the time until they receive a raise (60%), time until they’re promoted (59%) and access to high-visibility jobs (56%).
This can make hiring, supporting and appealing to women more difficult. So to become an employer of choice among millennial women, make sure you provide access to professional development opportunities and fair promotion requirements.
Having transparent career paths and timelines for advancement shows female millennial employees that your decisions related to promotions aren’t driven by favoritism and gender bias. Simply put, it signals that they don’t need to job hop or leave your company to get ahead.
Encourage a healthy work-life balance
Millennial women want to advance in their careers, but they don’t want professional growth to come at the expense of their personal lives. According to PWC’s Next Generation Diversity report, 97% of female millennials say that maintaining a good work-life balance is important.
This is another area where small businesses can shine. While small business owners tend to work long hours, they also tend to offer more flexibility for employees.
Offering employees the ability to work when and where they want can help you become an employer of choice for millennial women. As an added benefit, it can also increase workplace productivity.
Increase workplace diversity and inclusivity
Compared to previous generations, millennials are more diverse, and they want to see that diversity reflected in the workplace.
According to the PWC report, diversity is particularly important to millennial women, with 82% saying an employer’s policy on diversity, equity and inclusion is important when deciding whether or not to work for an organization.
Diversity and inclusion aren’t just initiatives for large corporations. Small companies that want to attract and maintain millennial women in their ranks should also focus on hiring a diverse workforce and foster an inclusive atmosphere.
You may not have the resources to implement a large-scale hiring initiative, leadership development programs or cultural awareness workshops, but you can:
- Revisit your company’s values and policies to ensure they align with the organization you want to be.
- Prioritize building relationships with diverse contractors, vendors and customers.
- Seek out training and education programs around structural racism, unconscious bias and other equity issues.
- Commit to recruiting at universities, colleges and other organizations with diverse student populations.
Start with one or two initiatives and build on your efforts from there.
Millennial women are a big part of the workforce, and although they are not all alike, these tips should help you gain a better understanding of how they view their careers and the world at large. Hiring and holding on to them might require some extra effort, but many of the changes they herald will benefit your entire organization.
About the Author…
Callie McGill is a content manager at LendingTree. Covering an array of personal finance topics from insurance to small business, she works hard to provide unique viewpoints that empower people to make their best financial decisions. Callie earned her B.A. from Penn State University and her work has been published on major networks like Yahoo! and MSN.