Report | 2016

Executive Summary

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) released new research on workplace policies and practices that empower women and Millennials, who together constitute the majority of the U.S. workforce. The research study, Women, Millennials, and the Future Workplace, includes recommendations for businesses to empower, retain, and profit from both cohorts simultaneously. The project was funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and has been featured in a recent op-ed.

The report finds that women and Millennials often struggle to conform to traditional business structures, which were not designed to meet their unique needs. It finds that workplaces with flexible work policies and a culture of transparency and collaboration are ideal for women, who comprise nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and the Millennial Generation, which has overtaken Baby Boomers to become the largest generational cohort in the workforce.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of GIWPS, said “This report employs a distinct approach by studying genders and generations simultaneously. Its findings—that women and Millennials are empowered by the same workplace policies—should encourage companies to alter their practices to benefit the majority of their employees.”

The study finds that women and Millennials excel when they have high levels of autonomy and flexibility over when and where they do their work. Yet, both groups also benefit from structured protocols, which clearly outline company policies on topics such as flexible work schedules, parental leave, and disconnecting—instead of addressing them on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, the study shows that women and Millennials favor transparent and cooperative office environments, which promote collaborative decision-making and facilitate communication between leadership and employees.

“We recognize that women and Millennials are critical to the success of today’s workforce,” said Anne Finucane, Vice Chair, Bank of America.  “We continue to enjoy our partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and this report offers organizations, regardless of sector, some key considerations to building a stronger, more inclusive workplace that will ultimately create shared success and advance our economy.”

Tricia Correia, GIWPS’ Bank of America Fellow on Women & the Economy, executed the study, which was informed by a series of interviews with professional employees in five cities across the United States.

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