Understanding and nurturing the millennial workforce for an overall organisational growth

TIMESJOBS0AUG 18, 2018 Rachna Mukherjee

Millennials are among the most important segment of the overall workforce of any organisation today. Given the demographic skew of our country, millennials will remain the key component of the workforce in the future as well. Our world is getting shaped by digitisation, connectivity and rapid communication. Organisations across industries are aligning in a way in which they can adopt the technological advancements to bring-in efficiency, improve productivity and stay at par with the standards. Millennials are the new age workforce that believes in rapidity of communication, decision making, innovation and growth while contributing to a higher social purpose. Most importantly, they are the digital natives born in a ‘Digital Era’. We believe, nurturing the millennial workforce in the right way should be considered as a key business strategy, and specific initiatives should be designed to harness the ‘generational diversity’ while ensuring a healthy collaborative workforce. 

Millennials largely seek three strategic elements in employers- a meaningful/ higher purpose career growth, flexibility, and work-life balance. The vast opportunities available in the overall ecosystem, infuses the sense of enthusiasm to learn and adapt more. So, 

a routine profile without good learning opportunities leads to monotony, low performance or even greater attrition risk among millennials. Hence, the task at hand for organisations is to align organisation’s roles and processes to cater to this millennial orientation, rework a bit on their strategies to create and maintain an engaged workforce. 

Developing a strong millennial workforce: A strong millennial workforce that blends well with the organisational culture and goals and at the same time brings in new perspectives, creativity and innovation can be developed with a few basic strategies that works as a win-win for both employees and employers. Some of them include: 

  1. Meaningful purpose – Along with regular business, involving the millennials for a social cause that aligns with their role or even independent of their roles, is a good way to engage with them. Organisations have started thinking in this direction and are empowering employees with voluntary leaves that gives them the flexibility to take up meaningful activities outside of their regular work. 
  2. Learning and growth opportunities – It can be a business initiative where the millennials of the organisation are given an opportunity to independently work on a key project with a mentor from within the organisation. This not only gives millennials a chance to constantly learn but also allows them the required exposure with the seniors. They also get to demonstrate leadership skills. These projects could be then presented to a larger management team that provides recognition and a sense of achievement among the young deserving employees. 
  3. Flexibility of work and well-being – Studies have proven that millennials of today look for organisations that ensure their well-being and believe in flexibility of work hours. At Schneider Electric, our flexible work policies ensure employees can manage their work-life balance. We believe well-being boosts performance and performance boosts well-being, and hence our programs are designed in a way that ensures employee well- being throughout their journey with us. Flexibility at work also allows millennials to pursue their passion with ease. 
  4. Creative engagement- In today’s competitive world, the ability of an organisation or an employee to weave in innovation and creativity in what it does is the only mantra that can set it apart from the clutter. It is important to understand that creativity needs fostering and encouragement. It is the outcome of various aspects, especially the freedom to innovate and be unique in their thought process. Other critical factors that enhance creativity includes, the overall culture of an organisation such as trust and openness with its employees, ability to take up risks and challenges, developing interactive employee engagement programs which are fun, inclusive and help in generating ideas. And most importantly accept and learn from failures. 

In a nutshell, Generational Diversity needs to be built in as a business strategy. From campus hiring to instilling organisational values among the millennials, and finally nurturing their strengths in the journey with the company, organisational programmes must focus on empowering and creating a cohesive work environment. This generation is likely to want leadership to share their concern about the social values embodied by the business and help create fulfilling jobs to get the best pick of the talent pool; making sure that the emphasis is on purpose as well as on profit. 

The author is CHRO, Schneider Electric India 

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