The Changing Face of Workplace Values
In 2004, a study was published in the journal, Science Direct, that reported findings that men and women valued the same aspects of work but ranked them differently. It showed that men placed more value on status, power, and authority than women did. They also considered salary and benefits more important in the workplace than their female counterparts. Although women valued those aspects as well, the study showed that they ranked recognition, respect, communication, fairness and equity, teams and collaboration, and family and home higher. Researchers concluded that if employers could manage these gender differences, then they could improve morale and company loyalty.
Those findings painted an accurate portrait of the slave-to-the-office mentality that has governed the culture of Corporate America for decades. The male-dominated corporate culture that developed to manage factories was pervasive in almost every industry until very recently. What changed? Two significant things happened. We had an economic crisis in this country that we’re still climbing out of, and the millennial generation entered the workforce.
The challenges of the economic downturn forced many of us to get creative with our career paths. Maybe some of the traditional steps along the ladder of success were no longer available or perhaps you were downsized and decided to take an entrepreneurial approach instead. Many women and their partners had to rethink their careers to compensate for the shifting economic landscape. This changing career force combined with the millennial generation going to work, and this new generation of employees had a different set of values going into the workplace. And according to Dana Theus, founder of InPowerWomen.com and career blogger at Huffington Post, women are leading the way to these changes.
Theus says that there’s a schism occurring between the old corporate paradigm and the new generation of workers. Today’s employees, both female and male, want a work day that is flexible outside of the traditional 9-5 clock in and clock out. They grew up with amazing technology that helped shape their mobile, global, 24/7 perspective. They’d rather spread out their work over a ten hour period and then disconnect from the office altogether in order to tend to the other areas of their lives. In other words, the new employee wants a better balance of work and home life.
She writes, “working women, especially, feel the pinch because they have a clearer understanding of what a blended work-life feels like. They work more hours of the day to fulfill their duties at work and home and the extra stress takes its toll. Women feel the stress acutely, and this is one of many reasons they’re the fastest growing segment of the entrepreneurial economy. Unlike many male entrepreneurs, many women don’t seek fame and riches in building their own company, but a sane lifestyle that pays the bills and funds a healthy, balanced lifestyle.”
You don’t have to toss away your career because it might not fit your idea of how to work. Even if you feel like you’re the only person in the office that wants to refocus the corporate values, know that there are others like you. In fact, Theus encourages employers and employees alike to focus on creating these new values within their sphere of influence. If you want to see more integration and team-building, and if you desire an increase in creativity, impact, and tolerance, then be the example that you would like to see around you. You can be a representative of these new values and shift the focus of your office to be the example that others want to follow.
Theus, Dana. “11 Ways Women (and Men) are Changing Workplace Values.” Huffington Post, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Peterson, Michael. “What Men and Women Value at Work: Implications for Workplace Health.” Elsevier, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Dec. 2004. Science Direct. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.