If there is one thing that successive generations have had no option on, it is in the adoption of new technology. Today, millennials, on the other hand, are not just expected to drive new age technologies, they simply have to.
Millennials are already a very significant proportion of the tech workforce and unlike their predecessors, they (and the new millennials) have one big advantage - they are natives of the “digital transformation age”. So, thinking in a digital context comes naturally to them. They are able to quickly grasp modern technology concepts as well. Being more tech-savvy, they tend to have a more progressive and tech-driven approach to solving complex problems. Brimming with new ideas, the fresh talent that has just moved out of college to take up jobs constitute of the larger chunk of the new gen. Equipped with the latest tech know-how, for them, there isn’t any “fear factor” in the adoption of new age technologies.
They have a future-ready mindset, more willing to take risks and innovate with an inherent eagerness to learn and implement. There is much greater and realistic anticipation of what will happen, at least in the near future, than there was ever before.
However, the real disruption, which none of us can claim to be ready enough for, or be able to envisage enough beyond possible constructs is that of the future workplace - what it stands for and will look like.
Each generation is simply a product of its time and in millennials’ time, the biggest impact is in the globalization of employment and the new social contract at work.
Equally importantly, there are some things that don’t change. The need to create wealth, (and/or) earn a living, be happy, develop one’s identity and purpose in life, for example, remain largely similar. It’s the means, the opportunities and the canvas that have transformed.
So what has this actually meant really, especially for the tech industry like ours?
- First, it’s the concept of a workspace. It is also space, and as important and sacred as any other. It needs to look wanted, friendly, warm, livable, breathable and collaborative. The standard pristine whites and the 5x4s will qualify no more. Look around, and the best tech spaces unabashedly flaunt themselves to outdo each other in design and function. Function being as vital here as design, though, be it the cafeteria or the research lab!
- Second is engagement. Meaningful work, open communication - being heard, access to information and people, getting relevant and timely updates, being connected both socially and professionally, and learning on demand (on multiple frontiers in multiple ways), great mentorship, and having fun are all important elements of this new unwritten social contract.
- Third is flexibility. It’s not necessarily about work-life balance. It’s about being able to handle, manage or facilitate work-life priorities; as and when needed, and in ever so different ways. It is increasingly becoming a continuous process rather than one excluding the other. ‘Anytime, Anywhere, Log In or Log Out!’
The tech-savvy millennials are intelligent, curious, and they want to add value, make an impact. They love diverse experiences, have their own unique ways to express themselves and drive themselves towards what they want. Challenges excite them. They seek for an environment that has the right culture and us to set that up.
Some companies attempt to overhaul their culture to make millennials feel more welcome. For us, we believe it is more crucial to first understand, respect and recognize their expectations. Sharing with them and credibly demonstrating the “company’s values and cultural underpinnings” that have led to success (and of course, failures). Draw an outline, discuss expectations and involve them in making career decisions (we run a career fair for all campus hires, for example). Hence, if there is a credible sync in, the millennials will themselves help us build the culture they seek (in transformational as well as incremental ways), and turn out to be great evangelists and brand ambassadors of the organization as well.