Blog: Decoding Gen Y career aspirations

Strategic HR

Decoding Gen Y career aspirations

Companies need to handle external parity and comparison when it comes to awarding promotions and advanced roles to millennials
Decoding Gen Y career aspirations

It is well known that Gen Y is very demanding in nature and unrelenting in attitude when it comes to career progression. Not only do they crave continuous learning but also expect their career to be fast-tracked. They value commitments over assurances.

Some of the common dilemmas organizations face while crafting careers for millennials are: Promoting meritocracy while maintaining batch parity; Crafting customized roles in addition to traditional roles for enhancing exposure and learning; Looking at avenues and opportunities to empower this brigade (which is more than keen to take up additional responsibilities early in their career); and continuously reinventing and revisiting their career management framework to meet the ever increasing expectations of the millennials.

The Gen Y employees are very well networked and tend to keep a close tab on each other’s career movements. The biggest challenge is to handle external parity and comparison when it comes to awarding promotions and advanced roles.

Let us look at the interplay of various emotions which emerge out of such external peer comparisons through an interesting case.

Ravish, who came from a modest background, had worked hard to make his way to one of the top NITs. He was inspired by his uncle who retired as the HoD of the Electrical Department from a well-known company and decided to make pursue electrical engineering.

During campus placements, he gets an opportunity to join a well-known manufacturing company as a Graduate Engineer Trainee. Within a year of joining, he was confirmed as an Assistant Manager. He has been with the company for almost three years and is doing very well. After his recent appraisal discussion with his supervisor, he was told that he could make the manager grade in about 12 to 18 months. He is happy with the discussion.

Later, he came to know through a LinkedIn update that one of his batchmates and close friend Vijay, who had been placed in a similar MNC that he had already been awarded a promotion and was made manager. Ravish starts reflecting on the day when his company had visited their campus for the pre-placement talk and the career progression chart they had shared with the students. Though he has been one of the top performers, he knows that promotion in his current company would take at least another year.

But the thought that his immediate peer has already moved one level up makes him restless. A school of conflicting thoughts started crossing his mind.

  1. Did he make a mistake by joining his current company?
  2. At the current pace of career growth, will he fall behind his peer group in terms of career growth over time?
  3. Was Vijay a better performer than him that he got an early promotion which was not the case?
  4. What should he do now? Should he continue with the career growth in his current company or start looking for options outside, which can offer him a managerial role immediately?
  5. Should he speak to his supervisor and share his concern knowing the fact that they recently had a career discussion?
  6. Should he speak to HR and share the example of his batch-mate getting promoted to a senior level and ask for an early promotion? Will that look good?
  7. Is there a significant difference in hierarchy and levels between his company and Vijay’s company, which on analysis does not hold true?

More than compensation and work, it was the title that was worrying him. He was also concerned about what other people will think when they will know that Vijay has become a manager and he is still an Assistant Manager.

There wasn’t any significant difference hierarchies and roles of both these companies since both operated in the same industry and domain. This classic example reflects the batch parity challenge, which a lot of companies are currently grappling with.

The scope of this subject is not limited to maintaining internal parity but also calls for an extensive and continuous benchmarking of career management framework with external companies to keep the Gen Y brigade engaged and associated. If you want to be in the race, your career management framework has to continuously evolve with time.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #Retention

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