‘‘Every generation needs a revolution'’, Thomas Jefferson had said famously and the millennial generation is bringing about that revolution in the contemporary workplace. The group that characterises the bulk of the young in professional setups are redefining the dynamics of India Inc. in rather interesting ways.
A 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report reads, ‘‘…the Organization of the Future – is arriving now’. Increasing presence of millennials seems to considerably influence this assertion. According to findings of a recent survey, millennials form about 64% of the Indian workspace and thus, it comes as no surprise, that corporates are investing their time to understand this demographic’s aspirations. The driving force of the millennials is to attract them to a workplace and more importantly retain them.
The writing is on the wall that future workplace will be a stark contrast to the traditional workplace of the past given the increasing presence of millennials and the following key changes can emerge with time:
- Key game changer - flexibility: More and more millennials value a flexible workplace arrangement as the key factor while choosing an employer. The traditional 9 to 6 work timings will no longer draw the interest of millennials.
In response to this demand, the future workplace is on its way to enable an ecosystem giving employees the autonomy and flexibility to decide on their work timings, along with their desired place of work.
The focus of the future workspace will be more around completion of projects rather than performance of job roles which can be undertaken out of cubicles or from the comfort of their homes. What is coming to be a widely-appreciated alternative is the newly emerging trend of co-working spaces.
- Low on hierarchy and high on autonomy- Millennials are aspirational with regards to their careers. There is enough research suggesting that career growth and learning opportunities will be key factors influencing job choices rather than compensation.
Also, millennials prefer to take accountability for the job at hand and hence, naturally, desire to have greater autonomy and empowerment. This need for career elevation coupled with the need for empowerment will require organisations to shift gears, redefine their existing hierarchical structures and subsequently, alter career paths within their ecosystems.
There will be thus be an emergence of greater holacracy in the future, in addition to the project-based matrix reporting that will replace the traditional reporting hierarchies.
- Increasing adoption of technology- Millennials, unlike the earlier generations, “Digital Natives”. Hence, their receptivity and agility to adopting technology is far higher than that of the earlier generations.
In the times to come, increased use of Artificial Intelligence and predictive analysis by companies will cater to the technological demands of this generation. Technology will pervade larger sections of the ecosystem and virtual workplaces may become commonplace.
- Continuous and instant feedback mechanism- Millennials look for instant gratification and this implies a need for organizations to revamp the way feedback is offered to them. No longer can this be an annual affair. Feedback will have to evolve to become more continuous and instantaneous. Managers will have to don the role of a coach rather than a supervisor.
Skill upgradation: A recent study by CEB has brought to light that 49% millennials are moving into management positions in their organisations before they appear ready for higher challenges. This clearly shows there exists a gap requiring organizations to deploy innovative and engaging interventions to upskill the millennials. So, while millennials are ready to make big leaps in scaling the corporate ladder, organizations will need to support them by investing in building their skills. While being business relevant, the interventions will have to be engaging and to the point.
Thus, customized micro-learning combined with hands-on experience will grow in importance and volume. Technology, again, will play a pivotal role in fulfilling the need for upskilling.Increased social media usage: Open to new ways of hiring talent, many organizations are warming up to the idea of using social media to attract young professionals. This as a matter of fact, is reaping results because millennials are on top of reviews about a potential employer and gauge their cultures through online-based forums.
Millennials are ready to take on the corporate world. The tall order for organizations is to create enabling ecosystems that will attract, nurture and retain this sought-after section of the workforce.