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The change-makers have arrived

As a generation, millennials want their work to count for something hugely significant

June 24, 2017 02:13 pm | Updated 02:13 pm IST

Arguably the world’s most famous millennial, Mark Zuckerberg has made a statement about his goal that encapsulates the ideals of every millennial. He said, “My goal was never to just create a company… but building something that actually makes a really big change in the world.”

Being able to make a meaningful impact is what motivates a millennial the most — be it in their workplace or in their personal and social life.

The millennial generation is the largest age group to emerge since the baby boomer generation. By 2021, India will be emerging as the youngest country with 64% of its population in the working age group of 20-35 years. As Leigh Buchanan writes in his book Meet the Millennials , “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70% say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.”

Millennials want and expect a drastically different employment experience from their previous generation. Millennials are well-educated, highly-skilled and savvy in technology, smart and confident and can multitask with ease. They have equally high expectations for themselves and the company they work for. They are constantly seeking challenges and looking out for opportunities that will help them stand out in the crowd. This is a generation that wants immediate results and speedy advancement. Millennials are gregarious — they prefer and enjoy team-work and realise their need for social interaction. Though extremely competitive, they also have a strong sense of work-life balance. Millennials’ prowess over technology clearly sets them apart.

One of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.

Considering all of the above, it will be safe to conclude that millennials are changing the way work gets done.

Hence, creating a workplace that attracts and retains the millennials has emerged as a tough challenge for companies. Millennials have strong beliefs and expectations that extend to the workplace; therefore, corporate strategies and policies have to be crafted keeping this in mind.

Ensuring variety

Managers need to understand the goals that millennials might have set for themselves and align the professional goals accordingly, while carefully picking the right person for the job. A very important factor to keep in mind is the fact that they like variety and want to have a clear sense that they are moving towards something substantial and making progress.

Reward strategies

It is important to understand what motivates them; and organisations should think creatively about reward strategies. Millennials are not interested in just monetary benefits; they appreciate customised rewards that make them feel special. They are a generation that likes to be appreciated and a lot!

Employer brand

The knowledge that their work is creating a positive impact and aiding growth in the company is important for this generation. Millennials value those things in an employer brand that they value in a consumer brand.

Regular feedback

Millennials like to receive feedback on a regular basis. A half-yearly or annual appraisal system will put their patience to the test.

They are open to real-time and practical feedback that will help them improve quality and deliver results faster — millennials want flexibility.

‘They appreciate when they are given clear instructions and are allowed the freedom to fulfil targets without being closely monitored. They are also constantly learning and are interested in being mentored. An effective mentoring programme can be a crucial motivator for millennials.

Learning from peers

Millennials are motivated by and learn their best lessons from other millennials. It is important to encourage peer-to-peer learning and establish a culture of knowledge sharing and upholding best practices that steer successful projects. While an effective implementation of the above mentioned will ensure a lower attrition rate in a company dominated by a millennial workforce, they would not be able to prevent the inevitable.

The rate of attrition amongst millennials is higher compared to other generations and will continue to remain so. However, the secret to building an employer brand that millennials appreciate and want to be associated with, is to not specifically target millennials but build a culture, management style and an approach to recruitment that resonate with the generation. Companies that are successfully practising this are able to take their pick of the best young talent around and retain them.

( Anuradha Bharat is Head - People Operations at Razorpay )

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