Millennials: The Future Workforce

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Millennials: The Future Workforce

Millennials now make up the largest age group in workplaces and are a critical component of the economy. Currently, the workforce consists of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. The term Millennials is interchangeable with the term Generation Y, which is defined as people born between 1980 and 1999. The Millennial generation is expected to make up about 75% of the total global workforce by 2035.

Anatomy of Indian Millennials (aka Gen Y)

(Source: “Are Millennials financially wiser than their parents” The Economic Times, August 6, 2018) 

  • 440 million or 1/3rd of the total population
  • form 46% of the workforce
  • contribute 70% of the total household income
  • Wealth is the top Life goal for 80% of the millennial
  • 91% Millennials believe in making their own financial decisions

Organizations now operate in a highly-competitive environment for recruitment and retention of skilled workers and therefore maintaining a stable and talented workforce is becoming more and more difficult. Within this context, it is important for organizations to understand how Millennials differ from other age cohorts and what motivates them.

I conducted a primary research to get better insights. Questionnaires were sent out to the Millennials, Recruitment /Hiring agencies, HR department heads and Consultants. A few Interviews provided were also conducted. The data and responses so collected provide a better understanding of the characteristics and expectations of the Millennials at workplace.

Comparison between Gen X and Gen Y

Particulars Gen Y Gen X
 

Financial Focus

Loves to spend. Buy things on credit. Travel is the new passion. Prefers to rent. Focused on Saving. Avoid Loans. Travel spend was negligible
 

Goals

Focus on short-term gaols like travel, gadgets, cars. House and retirement not on radar Buying a house, retirement and children’s education and wedding
 

Spending

Higher disposable income. High Spend on travel, gadgets, apparels, eating out Household expenses. Minimal discretionary spend
 

Career

Loves job-hopping. Part of gig economy. Flexibility in work hours and location Stability was critical. 9 am to 5 pm jobs. Stuck to a job for a long term
 

Financial Tech

Tech Savvy. Almost all financial transactions are online Not very tech-savvy. Graduating to online transactions

Common work style of Millennials:

  • Go-getters, Adaptable, Individualistic, Informal
  • Intellectually curious, Non-hierarchical, Technology driven

Feedback from Millennials

  • Female employees in the work experience group of 2-4 years are not satisfied with their work – life balance.
  • Non-monetary rewards & flexible work environment are the major factors for job satisfaction.
  • Expect access to top level management to discuss, learn and feel connected with the organization.
  • Millennials to be appreciated and recognized for good work to motivate them and conduct meetings more often to guide them personally on their career path.
  • Inter department communication to be improved in order to get a better understanding about what is going on within the organization
  • Millennials view themselves as adaptable in a workplace.

Feedback from HR Agencies on Challenges faced during placement of Millennials

  • Unrealistic Career expectation (they become frustrated with the amount of time to reach senior management roles)
  • Millennials tend to value Purpose more than just money so employers have to show more purpose to attract top
  • They have high expectations about career growth in a shorter span of
  • They prefer to work as individuals rather than in teams
  • Expect flexibility in their jobs (work from home, sabbatical, job rotation)

Feedback from HR Departments

  • Activities to keep employees engaged based on Person-Organization fit.
  • By connecting them with Top Level Management in different ways.
  • Obtain Feedback through formal surveys or informally over breakfast, lunch sessions
  • Performance based monetary rewards, Non-monetary rewards such as Management courses, offsites, Best service awards etc.
  • Policies specific for Millennials : Study leave, Sabbatical, Paternity Leave

Millennials affect the work culture and environment

  • Companies driven by Gen-Y have adaptable, friendly culture with meaningful work.
  • Flexible working hours
  • Sabbatical Leave
  • Reverse Mentoring

Recommendations

  • Conduct “Skip level meetings” to facilitate younger employees to access Top Management.
  • Arrange “Mentoring” sessions on an annual basis for an overview of career path of employees.
  • Recognise good performance by instituting “Employee of the Year” type of awards
  • Initiate “CheerRings” activities for appreciation and motivation of employees.
  • Sponsor “Outbound” activities for team building, valuable knowledge programs for better communication between teams across departments
  • Job Rotation” is advised to improve learnings and create more opportunities to grow within the company
  • Initiate “Best Idea” contest which engages employees with the goals and priorities of the organization and its top management.
  • Offer “Flexible working hours”, whenever possible.
  • Promote “Work Life Balance” approach
  • Strengthen Ongoing “Training and Skills Development” program
  • Embrace “Technology” as an integral part of the workplace
  • Provide “Generational Training to Senior Managers
  • Set up “internal Task Force comprising Millennials” and others to suggest people policies to the Management.

While some organisations have begun to adapt their recruitment, retention, and transition efforts, the survey indicates that there is still a great amount of opportunity for organizations to improve in this regard. The survey brought out that while the trigger for some of the new policies could be due to the younger workforce but the implementation is uniform across all employees. It has been noted that traditional organizations recognise the importance of the young workforce and are taking steps to create an environment that is seen as conducive to the Millennials. If companies do not adapt, they risk falling out of touch with their employees. Organizations that are rigid in their approach could find themselves at a disadvantage as compared to their competitors.

Author: Isha Bhatnagar

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