Article: Are we ready to manage the new talent?

Employee Engagement

Are we ready to manage the new talent?

Shantanu Dhar, Asst. Executive Director, Dalmia Cement Bharat, reflects on how companies need to be sensitive to the expectations of the new generation and what could be the effects of ignoring them in the long term

The real media is not in the business magazines and TV shows that we see, it's lurking right under our noses in cyber world


The new generation is enlightened, collaborative, apolotical, smart working and insightful


Recently, a funny thing happened on Facebook. A twenty something friend (let’s call her Reena) wrote a not so flattering line about her boss on her wall. Within five minutes, she had around 50 comments on it. In a day, it turned to almost 500!
I called her, to learn that she had quit her job with a law firm and then decided to post this comment on facebook (apparently on a whim). Being of that generation who did not know the word ‘opportunity’ when we started out in our careers; I asked her, all concerned, if she was not worried about any repercussions of that statement. Prompt came the reply; ‘I don’t really care… I didn’t like the company and my boss’s weird ways, so I posted my thoughts. I am not serving my notice and don’t care what they would do about it!’

What about getting a new job? I queried, isn’t she worried about that? The nonchalance of her answer took me off guard. ‘There’s plenty of opportunity for me out there, I’ll go grab it, when I am ready and on my terms.’
This set me thinking… is there a pattern here? So, I began to Google some employee blogs of different companies during my weekend and what I saw really shook me up!

Here’s the deal - Today’s twenty something talent has no qualms about letting the world and its uncle know how they have been treated in an organization. They will do it quietly, anonymously and sometimes like my friend, openly in the cyber world, and guess what, they are not really concerned about the consequences!

The company in question, may not even get to know about it, until it is probably too late!

So what does this tell me? Perhaps the real media is not in the business magazines and TV shows that we see… maybe it’s lurking right under our noses in cyber world!

What else does this tell me?

India will clock around 7% growth in March 2010, hit around 9% in the next fiscal and add a few digits of inflation. The generation of twenty something know this and the enormous opportunity this has created for them. Perhaps we are going to see a tectonic shift; opportunities are opening up in the areas of fine arts, media, counseling, psychology – the non-traditional opportunities we forty somethings did not get…

I see a majority of this generation (and the next) opting for these creative fields. What will that mean for us? Lesser MBAs, engineers and their ilk?

So we’ll be left competing for a talent pool from traditional vocations that keeps getting smaller. This pool will have even more opportunities than we can ever think of. They will demand (and get) what they want from their work place. They will expect sabbaticals, timings that suit them, some may opt to work for six months or so at a stretch and then take a break. They will not tolerate policies that are not user friendly and they will not tolerate bad behavior at their work place. They will probably not accept what our generation thinks is right for the work place!

This new generation occurs to me as enlightened, collaborative, apolitical, smart working and insightful. They choose vocations for ‘love’ and not ‘need’. They are not insecure. They don’t want advice, especially from our generation. They won’t listen to sermons and most importantly, they don’t want to be led!

They are part of a quiet revolution that is India and they are proud of it. I am beginning to learn a lot from them and admire them and their enormous talent. The only thing that worries me is that do I have the capability of managing them and their expectations? Has all my learning, education and experience helped me to create the work place that would attract and keep this talent? Will I be able to convince my colleagues that we need to start acting now to create our readiness?
Will I be able to constantly reinvent myself to be able to keep up with their scorching pace? Will I have the ability to embrace and not wrong them? Will I be able to accept and be part of this transformation they are creating?
I don’t have the answers, but I have begun my journey, and I will appreciate all the learning and perspectives on my way!

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Diversity

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