BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

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Question for Gen Y Women: How Can Employers Best Engage You?

Posted by 365SoulNotes on February 9, 2010

How can employers best engage you in the workplace?

You can post your musings here on Young Women Misbehavin’, Facebook, Twitter or email to kbarrett@bpwfoundation.org.

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4 Responses to “Question for Gen Y Women: How Can Employers Best Engage You?”

  1. Alissa said

    I think I best feel engaged with my company is when I feel like part of the team, not just the worker bee who shovels the sh*t. When my thoughts and ideas are listened to and considered, I feel like part of the team and like a valued employee. I want the upper level folks to come down and just talk to me, see what I do, and listen to my ideas. When higher level people make the effort to make me feel like they value my work, I will work harder for them.

    I think sometimes there’s a disconnect it today’s way of the workforce. It seems like a lot of workers just do what their told by their superiors. Well, in today’s world of Social Media where we interact with brands and companies socially, I think we expect to feel that way in the workplace too. I should be able to have a frank conversation with my superiors. Two-way communication is very engaging to me.

  2. Alissa,

    Nicely put! I feel very much the same way. I remember when I was in the army and one of the more senior officers was saying that soldiers today want to know more about the mission than they used to. He said when he was a young lieutenant he gave an order and his soldiers followed it. Today they ask how it fits into the bigger picture, want to know more about the intelligence behind it, etc.

    Some people might feel questioning is insubordinate…but really, today’s generation grew up in a far more interactive environment than past generations (heck, even TV is overrun with reality shows like “American Idol” where our votes determine the winners). Is it any wonder people want to be engaged?!

    I think the key is for both sides to ask themselves two questions:
    1) Why might the person on the other side of this equation feel the way they do?
    2) How can I adjust my message so they can hear it without being defensive?

    I think these two questions work up and down the chain. There is value to a more interactive, new approach to doing things. But there is also value in the experience of older generations. If we could all learn from each other and take the best of both worlds…just imagine how awesome we could be then!!

  3. Cassie said

    I want my employer to actively listen. Instead of asking me what I think, let me talk, but then just use their idea or ask for further clarification. This goes along the lines of communication that the previous two readers discussed. Active communication is vital for me to be comfortable.
    I think that feeling trusted is important. If I wanted to work from home one day, I want my employer to embrace that instead of criticize and sneer. Some days I know I would be much more productive if I home, and the fact that I am forced to come in to work gives the message that my employer doesn’t trust that I’ll work from home.

  4. Cassie,

    Trust is a huge one! I have been lucky to work in environments with bosses that know the value of working from home once in awhile. However, there is always those that don’t believe people are actually working when they are at home.

    A mentor of mine once told me that instead of getting defensive when someone says, “You probably don’t really get work done at home” that I should instead ask questions.
    –What makes you think that?
    –What is your experience with people working at home?
    –Do you function better in an office environment than you would working at home?
    –What would make a work-at-home agreement successful in your eyes? (specific measruables)

    By asking questions instead of getting defensive, you can understand WHY that person may not think working from home is a good idea. In most cases, it is more about that person than it is about you! Past experiences or their own preferred work styles make these people think working at home is a bad idea for EVERYONE.

    Once you know what the roadblock is, you can come up with strategeis to address it! Maybe you could even get your boss to agree to a test run to see that working at home can be very productive!

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