Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes ~ Millennial Women

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By ALI CUDBY

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As follow up to the launch of the She Buzz column, I’ve been thinking about the role of women and how gender is seen differently from generation to generation.

When this headline from Entrepreneur Magazine appeared, Who Wants to be CEO? Not Millennial Women, naturally, it caught my eye.

The article is worth a read – it looks at the pay gap and other issues related to women in the workplace.

There was one line from the article that really jumped out at me, referring to a shift in how Millennials define leadership, “Rather than zeroing in on a specific title, [Millennials] are focusing on becoming influencers in their field and making an impact at their company, she says. To really engage young women at work…employers need to recognize this shift.”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard business leaders, universities and other institutions discuss the Millennials from this perspective. Namely, that it’s the responsibility of the business to change in order to accommodate younger employees.

The article goes on to make some good recommendations about ways businesses can address the needs of younger women, such as offering opportunities for development and giving them more of a voice.

To be honest, I’m torn. Part of me admires the confidence of young women (and men) entering the workforce and believing so fully in themselves. They come to their first jobs ready to offer their insights and opinions – there are real upsides to having people like that on a team. These young women want to build the businesses where they spend the majority of their time.

On the other hand, leadership is not always what a business wants or needs from its entry-level employees. While nobody is suggesting there should be a totalitarian environment, there’s something to be said for paying dues, and learning an industry from the bottom, up. Frankly, sometimes a business – particularly a small business – needs young employees to do the job they were hired to do first, before eyeballing that next rung on the ladder.

Clearly this is a complex issue and can’t be solved – or even fully articulated – in 400 words. The answer is neither black nor white, it lies somewhere in the shades of gray.

I’m left with the underlying question – where is the line between a businesses job to change for its Millennial employees and those employees requirement to adjust to their workplace?

As lingerie business owners, where do you draw that line for the young women you employ?

 

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