Salary and benefits are often the first things that come to mind when someone is asked what they look for in a job. But other factors often play as big, if not a bigger, role for some of the younger workers entering the work force. Work environment is one of them.
In a (non-scientific) survey conducted by Modern Distribution Management for a recent article on demographic shifts in distribution, students in industrial distribution programs at two universities were asked: In looking at potential employers, which attributes are most important to you?
Work environment was not one of the top answers - likely because it wasn't one of the prefilled choices. However, more than half of the people who selected "Other" filled it in as their response.
"Work environment is so important to me when I'm looking for a job," says Megan Anderson, a 27-year-old senior at Eastern Michigan University. "These smaller companies can't always provide the biggest salaries or the best benefits but if you have a room where the president of a company sits and works alongside millworkers, well, that type of work environment is priceless. You know you're all working toward the same goals because you're all working together."
While incoming workers in the 1980s and 1990s were often viewed as ultracompetitive, the incoming generation may be more focused on cooperation.
"Competition is necessary, especially if you're in sales, but I think there needs to be an equal balance of cooperation where people can work together and learn from each other," says Megan Carr, a 22-year-old recent graduate of the industrial distribution program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
It's called "coopetition," and many younger workers are seeing the value in learning from "competitors" rather than just trying to knock them out of the race.
The reality is it's no longer all about the money. Mentoring programs and openness to new ideas are going to have a big impact on attracting the best young talent in the field. Providing a stable and open work environment is going to help keep them.
A Demographic Shift in Distribution
MDM Interview with Border States CEO Tammy Miller: Breaking Through the 'Grass Ceiling'