9th April,2019: India is set to become the world’s youngest country by 2020, with almost 65% of its population in the working age bracket. What sets this vast workforce apart is that a majority of it is comprised of millennials – those born in the 1980s to the early 2000s. As a generation, millennials are judged harshly at times, especially in the workplace. These ‘impatient individuals, however, are also the most tech-savvy, creative and driven.
It is only when HR leaders can interpret the thought process of millennials, will they truly understand how to manage them. This was the major focus area of Shine.com’s 1st Talent Talks Recruiter Meet held in Gurgaon on 5th April 2019.
Understanding the millennial mindset – The need for instant gratification and the freedom to be
The major discussion at the Shine.com event was around defining who millennials are and what exactly they require to attain job satisfaction. All the panelists agreed that Millennials are driven by the need for instant results and accelerated growth in the workplace. Saurabh Sharma, Talent Acquisition Lead, OLX said, “Whether it is food or conveyance, millennials want everything on tap. The desire to get things done quickly is strong with this generation. The same behavior is extended to their career as well. As recruiters, we must be quick, accessible and proactive with this generation. This is the best way to keep them engaged and interested in a job opportunity.”
He further spoke about the fast-paced career that attracts millennials. “Most of all, millennials need the freedom to explore, experiment, fail and get back up. They need a career framework supporting their own life journey which allows them to keep moving ahead at their own pace,” he added.
Vasundhara Srivastava, Senior VP HR, Xceedance Consulting Pvt. Ltd. and one of the panellists, said, “There are a lot of horror stories we have heard about millennials being entitled, flaky or lazy. However, in my opinion, this is a pool of young people who are free thinkers, independent and creative, who just want to do what makes them happy. Instant gratification is inherent in this generation and we, as employers, need to ensure we help them learn that job satisfaction cannot be attained instantly.”
Extrapolating from her experience working with a company that is founded and run by millennials, she said, “At our organization, we have achieved a balance between the requirement of instant gratification and a learning environment where they gradually learn that things like job satisfaction and relationship building happen over time. This, I feel, is what works for millennials.
Millennials and technology: How their confluence affects the jobs landscape
Sumit Mukherjee, VP HR, Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company Ltd., shed light upon the influence that technology and the internet have on the millennial workforce. He said, “What I have come across is that people today are very well informed about what is going on. The internet has given them access to a lot of information but all this information. This influence reflects in the action that people take today. Millennials have opinions and are not afraid to voice them. So, we, as employers, need to allow people to share their thoughts and ideas. Millennials are coming up with fresh ideas instead of doing the same stale work. Even in our organizations, new-age employees have overhauled processes and turned things around in no time. We are now witnessing much more engagement from people who are joining in. In my opinion, tech is not making this difference, the millennial attitude is.”
Adding to this, Shailesh Singh, Talent Acquisition Lead, Max Life Insurance said, “This ‘squad’ of millennials is not defined by age but by their way of life. Their mind-set stems from the fact that the population has not had to struggle for basics such as food, electricity, education or job. Further, the internet has made their lives much easier and more connected than ever before. Thus, even in their career, this population seeks simplicity. They don’t want to work for these basics but want to make something unique. The want to add value through their work instead of doing repetitive tasks. Born in a generation where tech is a given, they do not want to perform tasks like making reports at work. They believe that automation should be doing this work for them, while they focus on value addition.
Defining millennials at the workplace: Uncertainty, opportunity and empowerment
Saswati Sinha, Head HR, Cheil India, eloquently put into words some major traits that define millennials at the workplace. She mentioned, “Firstly, empowerment is a fundamental right that millennials demand. Secondly, they believe that ‘life is today’ and prefer to live in the present. They do not want to horde for the future or learn from the past – they want to make a difference now.
Furthermore, they are extremely focused, not on what they want but on what they don’t want. They don’t want stagnation or a mundane life. Most of all, they do not want to stay in the same place, doing the same things. If work gets repetitive, they leave. Finally, they are incredibly entrepreneurial. The risk taking spirit in millennials is very high. They can continue to transition throughout their career until they reach a point where they feel satisfied and appreciated.”
Echoing her thoughts, Dharm Rakshit, Head HR, Hero Moto Corps Ltd. said, “Millennials thrive on uncertainty and take much more risks than our generation ever could. They are challenging the status quo and redefining the jobs landscape. And why not? Our generation is adopting technology while millennials are inventing it. They are much more intelligent and informed than our generation was at their age. They excel at identifying opportunities and building solutions. This is the fundamental difference between millennials and us, and this is how they are going to change the world.”
Further to the insightful discussion, the esteemed panellists joined the audience at their tables for group discussions. Each member of the audience had a chance to directly interact with the speakers. Commenting on this innovative new format of the event, Neha Kaul, Marketing Head, Shine.com said, “We wanted to go beyond the traditional panel discussions and give the audience a chance to have an in-depth and one-on-one discussion with the speakers. Thought leadership begins with innovation and this new event by Shine is just one in a series of unique and interactive engagement platforms that we plan to introduce this year for the Indian HR community.”
In conclusion: Is technology the key to attracting and retaining millennials?
One of the audience members, Shivdeep, HR Specialist, who summarized the discussion at his round table said, “What millennials want is to keep everything very simple for themselves. These are not people who are looking for allowances for their future generations. As mentioned by one of our esteemed panellists, millennials like to live in the present. They are focused on what the organization can do for them and their growth. More than policies and allowances, they are focusing on how they can add value to the organization.”
Further speaking on ways to retain millennials, he added, “Millennials thrive on workplace appreciation, and this is also one of the best ways of retaining them. They are not just looking for good packages but also better job titles which can make them feel recognized and appreciated. Further, they are looking for innovative tech-enabled workplaces that are conducive to streamlined work. From superior tech integration to physical infrastructure, workplaces need to accordingly overhaul themselves to attract and retain millennial employees, while truly unlocking their potential.”