Last week I overheard the conversations between my 14 year old and 10 year old sons and noticed a strange argot that they used- “Don’t use your ‘F’ brain”. When enquired what does that ‘F’ stands for, the answer was quick with a quirky smile that it actually stands for Fundoo, Fantastic, Freaking, Feather light and so on. I wondered for some time what actually the intended use of that ‘F’ was and finally settled for ‘Flexible’. In short, based on the mood and the situation we could replace it with any kind of ‘F’ word we want it to be.
When we reach office from home, the situation doesn’t seem to be much different. Workforce is demanding too many ‘F’ practices at workplace which were not so relevant or critical till a few years ago. So if you could ask the same question across Generations again- What does this ‘F’ stands for; the same quirky smile comes across again and aspirations seem to be ever evolving.
So what are the New ‘F’ practices which this new ‘F’ Generation at workplace expects? (It is interesting to note that the ‘F’ generation isn’t limited in its definition to only Gen Y but also includes Gen X to a large extent).
Fundamentals of my Role – Workplace is increasingly worried and conscious as to what is the nature of their contribution to the overall organization? This trend is not just limited to middle or senior management, but is also prevalent among lot of younger members of the workforce who are coming from premium schools. They are no longer excited by the compensation package or location alone. Explaining, Exploring, Engaging in the Big picture is a must for this generation.
Fun at work – Work can be serious in nature but workplace need not be. This is the new mantra of this generation. They are aware that as matured individuals we are responsible for the commitments made and will work towards to it; but cutting out one’s life by giving away precious moments for 5 days a week is a sacrifice which they feel is not worth in the end. ‘Work Hard and Party Harder’ is the essence for this new age ‘F’ generation and Party harder isn’t restricted to weekend parties but reasonable, enjoyable breaks during the working hours.
Friends to rely on – As organisations are growing larger the individuals at workplace are getting more and more isolated and at times becoming anonymous in this large ocean. One of the biggest ramifications of this is the ‘identity crisis’ as many in the workforce are only recognized by their email ids. Humans as social animals want to be recognized and heard from time to time and this can only happen if they have like-minded well-wishers (friends) around them (workplace). It is utmost critical for us to realize that this emotional vacuum is fast being realized by this generation and efforts to bridge that gap is a must for them.
Family Time – Personal time or family time is occupying prime priority among this generation. Many members of this workforce want to pursue hobbies or activities along with their careers; in short they believe that their life exists beyond career. For a long time there was this belief that the identity of an individual is all about what he / she achieved at workplace and the purpose of their life would revolve around that. But with this generation this long held belief is being challenged and negated. Workplace needs to balance various priorities along with their career.
Future Perspective – Increasingly the dynamics of business and economy are impacting the psyche of the workforce. The constant change and unpredictability has left many confused- Is it worth planning for a future and if yes what is the tenure of the future? Workplaces has to reorient their outlook also to this new dynamics and work towards building a common future perspective to ensure that there is a longevity in the outlook and this generation continues to build on their strong legacy which they have created over a period of time.
Freedom to speed up or slow down – With priorities and interests spanning beyond careers, many are keen to pursue parallel priorities-something beyond work. Considering this as a background, many in the workforce are looking for flexibility to either speed up or slowdown their career plans i.e. either grow faster than the normal (speed up) by taking extra stressed targets and contributing more than required working hours at workplace or the reverse of it –taking work & career progression bit slow.
Friend Philosopher Guide, the new Manager and HR – With the knowledge gap reducing between the managers and workforce, with the reduction of age difference between the managers and their team members, with the reducing gap between the HR & business, the relationship dynamics has changed. The new age ‘F’ generation is looking for a friend, philosopher, guide in their managers and HR, not just the traditional outlook of a giver and taker but more of a co-creator and team player.
This ‘F’ generation’s aspirations don’t seem to come across as very different in terms of the wish list, but what is certainly different is their seriousness & commitment towards each of them. What is also interesting to note is their readiness to sacrifice their career aspirations for the same which is an awakening signal for many of us.