Gen Y is being celebrated for the distinctive traits, skills and contributions they bring to the workplace. Organisations are waking up to the fact that the new generation can bring the much-needed disruptive change and wooing them with campus recruitment drives.

This Gen Y is a huge and diverse group, but they bring some common expectations with them ranging from competitive compensation and recognition to faster career growth and instant feedback to inclusive culture and flexible working hours.

Ms. Savneet Shergill, Head-Talent Acquisition, Dell India surmises, “The biggest expectation that students have today is whether the organisation will support them with the training required to perform effectively. Another important aspect is to understand their deficiencies and guide them to perform their best. The other expectations are whether the role will enable them to launch their career successfully, the work culture within the organisation and the ability to move between roles/functions to provide them with an exposure that in turn creates opportunities for them to grow faster.”

Mr. Syed Raza, Head Recruitments, Fiserv India stands by flexible job arrangements, “Today’s generation believes in work hard and party hard! They are better organised to manage work life balance and expect the employer to have processes and policies that encourage this way of working and lifestyle.” According to statistics too, about 85% of Gen Y members want to spend 30-70% of their time working from home!

Mr. Manoj Biswas, Unit HR Lead, Accenture India has a different take, “To Gen Y, an organisation's reputation or brand, a meaningful profession and a belief in what the company stands for are important elements in their decision to work for an organisation.” Even recent research by global recruitment firm Hays reveals that nine out of ten Gen Y candidates view the reputation or brand of an organisation as important factor in their decision to work for a company.

Companies serious on campus hiring, maintain sustained relations with educational institutions and undertake various initiatives to interact with students regularly and understand their expectations.

Mr Amit Das, Senior Vice President, RPG Enterprises highlights RPG’s initiatives, “We have focused campus engagement calendar and maintain our connect with the prospective employees through various initiatives like Inter B-school case study competitions, participation in campus events, seminars and guest lectures by our leadership team members. We also participate in surveys conducted specifically for top B-school students to gain our understanding and insights on the expectations of students who are our potential employees. Also, we have a structured summer trainee programme where we recruit a large pool of students from various campuses, which helps us to capture their expectations when they work on business projects in our group companies.”

Dell boasts of a strong University Relations Programme. Ms. Shergill explains, “We build and maintain deep relationships with universities and colleges that we want to hire from. Our business leaders on a regular basis visit these campuses to interact with the students.” she further adds, “We've also got a very strong presence on social media. We have a Dell University Relations Careers Page on Facebook which has more than 7000 students following us globally. We're also interacting with Gen Y on Twitter via our Twitter handle @CareersAtDell.”

Dr. Niranjan Thirumale, Chief Technology Officer, EMC India Centre of Excellence feels that, “More than anything else, the new generation of students want to work on cool stuff. Our campaign in top-tier colleges focuses on this angle, that EMC is at the forefront of today’s megatrends (Cloud and Big Data) and there are plenty of cool, exciting technologies that they can create here.

For example, one of our business units takes all of its new college hires and puts them in a crack team to build prototypes of futuristic products.”

Longevity and retention

Yet Gen Y is also rather infamous for doing things ‘differently’! As Mr. Biswas elaborates, “Gen Y seeks out new challenges and is not afraid to question authority. They are typically identified as non-traditionalist and do not favour an orthodox approach to business. They view themselves as a breed apart and prefer doing things ‘differently’.”

They are also stereotyped as pampered, demanding, entitled and flighty job-hoppers! Employers are often unsure about how long Gen Y employees will stay.

But this is not always true as the young recruits will definitely stick around if they are engaged well and their expectations are met. As Ms. Shergill elaborates, “An aspect like this is dependent on an organisation's culture, employment value proposition and its people policy. It may also correlate between the type of employee in an organisation and his/her career goals. When an organisation is able to demonstrate the diverse paths their existing talent pool has taken and the progress to head executive positions in the company, the candidates do stick around!” she adds, “The challenge in retaining them lies in providing employees with interesting roles and career opportunities. Job rotation within the function or organisation and new technology training is an effective way to manage this. Another retaining factor would be in the organisation providing assistance and support for pursuing higher education.”

Mr. Das reiterates, “The primary drivers through which we can retain this young employee segment is by providing the right set of value propositions like personalised attention through their assigned mentors, operational freedom, respect, care and inclusiveness as an organisational DNA, adequate reward and recognition both for performance and behavioural demonstration, learning opportunities through exposure in diverse business environment early in their career, and value based organisation culture, which keeps them excited at the workplace.

To sum up, smart organisations persevere to understand the expectations of Gen Y and then keep them in mind when hiring from campuses. They also have to depart from traditional practices and cater to new requirements like open, casual and cooperative work environment, challenging work, faster career progression opportunities, flexible working hours and even volunteering opportunities. This paradigm shift will see Gen Y employees sticking around much longer than expected and also make organisations the ‘employer of choice’!

Payal Chanania