Values gap in workplace can lead millennials to look elsewhere
"We were interested in workers' values regarding sustainability and corporate sustainability practices and whether a gap existed," said Rachel LoMonaco-Benzing, a doctoral student in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences.
"Not only did we find a gap, but we also found that workers were much more likely to leave a job if they felt their values were not reflected in the workplace."
For the study, LoMonaco-Benzing and Jung Ha-Brookshire, an associate professor of textile and apparel management and associate dean of research and graduate studies in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, interviewed employees in the textile and apparel industry involved in corporate supply chains.
They found that workers expressed the most frustration if their employers touted a commitment to environmental sustainability publicly but did not follow through substantively.
To ensure a good fit with a potential employer, the researchers recommend that job seekers speak with current and former employees at various levels of the organization, asking questions about areas that are particularly important to them, such as sustainability, work-life balance policies or community partnerships.
Conversely, in order to attract and retain the best employees, the researchers encourage companies to understand that the new generation of workers have high ethical and social expectations.
Being transparent with potential employees about corporate culture can head-off some frustration, they said. In addition, giving employees the opportunity to shape cultural decisions through membership on committees and outreach efforts will help to increase morale.
"I think this is another sign to the industry that business as usual is not going to work if you want to attract and retain these valuable workers," Ha-Brookshire said. ■