Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
As organisations become more diverse and employ more women, all managers, whether male or female need to know these to work with the millennial woman.
Here therefore is a small list of Do’s and Don’ts while working with the millennial woman.
Don’t assume that just because she is a girl she will be bad at coding or math or cutting edge scientific research. Do not assume. We have enough evidence to show that both men and women can excel in whatever fields they choose.
Don’t assume that just because she is a woman, she will not be able to balance work and her personal commitments. If she has a child, even more likely that her manager assumes this. No, don’t assume.
Don’t make your hiring decisions based on her age, the age of her uterus, her biological clock, her marital status. That is strictly her personal life. Just because she has a child does not mean that she will be a slacker or that she will not pick up extra load. Just because she is a 30-plus unmarried woman does not mean that the only aim in her life is to get married soon and quit. Her commitment to work is primary.
The millennial woman would rarely want to choose personal life over work. She seeks a balance between her work and personal commitments. She is ambitious. She also does not expect to be treated in a special way for this.
Don’t pass sexist remarks, not even jokes. Are we not done with the wife jokes yet? The last thing you want to do while working with a millennial woman is to crack offensive, sexist jokes that reek of patriarchy. The blond jokes, the wife jokes, the dumb bimbo jokes. Stop it. Respect the opposite gender. For as many dumb wife jokes, the millennial women can retort with an equal number of stupid men jokes but that’s the last thing on her mind. The millennial woman will honestly appreciate an intelligent conversation.
Don’t Judge. This is the generation that believes in expressing their beliefs, don’t judge them for that. If body piercing or tattoos are ok for your male employees, they should be ok for women too. And it’s often too easy to judge a girl with a tattoo or a pierced eyebrow or pink streaks in her hair. Don’t. Judge her work, not her body or her clothes.
Support work life balance. Instead of providing flexi work time to new mothers only, encourage new fathers too. Encourage them to share parenting loads, encourage a fair paternity leave policy. The millennials (men and women) want an equal role in their children’s upbringing and they seek organizations which support this.
Support equal opportunities for any and every gender. Support equal and fair progression, equal pay and most importantly equal say. Encourage women to speak in board rooms, meetings, and smaller group discussions.
Support programs to develop more women leaders. Millennial woman seek role models and growth paths. More woman leaders will inspire commitment, it will make them want to stay.
Do Sensitise. Sensitise your workforce. Not everybody understands equality and not everybody stands for equality. Make the men understand, show them the value, show them why this should be the norm and not a forced exception. For many of them its only social conditioning, partly due to what they have seen around and most of them are open to change. Only men who truly understand what equal opportunity and equal space mean can create successful organisations.
Do ensure safety. Ensure safety of the women at your workplace. The most critical factor that a millennial woman will seek in her future workplace is safety of women. She seeks an organization that not only has a comprehensive policy on Sexual Harassment at work but also implements it in spirit. We regularly hear of stories where the policy is tweaked conveniently, most of the times benefiting the perpetrator (especially if it is someone in the senior management). Very rarely do organizations take a strong stance to support the victim. The millennial woman will not suffer in silence. She will also not let her career get impacted by such acts. She would rather work with an organization that respects her than stay with an organization that protects the perpetrators.
I am a millennial and I have been trying to understand the motivations of people of my age group while deciding their career choices. Being a woman, a mother too, I have penned down a few thoughts on what women of my age seek on the professional front
I think this is just a small list. I would love to hear from more people about what do they think works well with millennials. What can an organization do to make them feel relevant and valued? Do comment with your ideas, suggestions, criticism. Everything is welcome, lets discuss.
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First published here.
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