In the next 10 years, 250 Mn millennials will be added to India’s job market! They are young, dynamic and tech-savvy, who, more than a stable job, believe in the gig economy. Popular culture has often depicted millennials as the “discerning hipster”, the “social media addict” or the “über sensitive intern”. However, these are only a handful of millennials; a large majority of urban millennials are highly skilled in their fields and can take up responsibilities given by their superiors.
What organisations need to do is think more in terms of offering a startup-like work culture. You might see a disparity with respect to the organisational structures and the work environment between corporate organisations and startup. However, I think it is important to toe the line and keep an open mind when it comes to millennials. In this way, figuring millennials out will probably help higher level employees in any organization hone the resourcefulness of an entire generation.
But, as organisations trying to impact the world with our ideas and applications, we need to create an environment that is conducive to a productive work environment for our millennial majority.
So, Here’s The Big Question: “What Are Millennials Looking For In A Workplace?”
As a millennial managing a workforce comprising almost entirely of millennials, I’m going to answer this question based on my experience. As part of this exercise, we asked a bunch of questions to millennials in our company about what their idea of a perfect workplace was. Added with my thoughts are some of the insights that we gathered.
Millennials thrive in an atmosphere that encourages creative freedom. In a thought-provoking interview with Paul Bilyeu, Simon Sinek answered “the infamous millennial question”. He stated something interesting- “Millennials are always trying to find purpose, trying to make an impact. Doing anything to hamper their expression of ideas will certainly put them off.”
Several startups hire individuals based on their potential to be creative and their enthusiasm to learn, and a lot of our interviewees seem to value this a lot. So it’s safe to say that creating an environment that encourages creative freedom can help you keep the average millennial invested in your company.
Picture your average textbook organisational hierarchy represented in the form of a neat flowchart with the C-suite taking the top and everyone else taking their respective places in little boxes with designations. Did you get that? Your average millennial doesn’t quite agree. They disagree with a hierarchical structure that doesn’t give them the liberty to engage and communicate with everyone involved in the company irrespective of age, position and team. Such an environment induces better ideation and discussions not giving any room for alienation or isolation.
A crucial aspect to check off your list should be giving millennials time to participate actively in their social lives. Today’s generation believes in maintaining an active personal and social life beyond the confines of an office. The younger lot invests time in learning, maintaining creative hobbies, travelling, staying fit as well as having fun in their off-time. Try providing an environment that gives due consideration to personal commitments as much as professional responsibilities.
Flexible Work Timings and Work-from- home Accessibilities
Millennials have been called lazy and entitled many number of times. I’m sure it would be appalling to see an employee step into an office post 10:00 a.m. But it is better to direct an
employee’s priorities and focus on their work rather than on them showing up. We have observed that millennials are actually quite relentless in providing quality work, meeting their targets and overstaying their work hours. Given how determined millennials can be to prove themselves, a 9:00 a.m. clock-in is a small sacrifice.
Technology at the Workplace
If there’s one quality that the Internet spews about the millennial cohort that isn’t criticising them, it is that they are a tech-savvy lot. Millennials have grown up in an era where advances in mobility and the boom in social media have made everything faster, more accessible and less tedious. Being the early-adopters has to count for something! We’re talking about a whole generation that has come to experience the convenience and efficiency technology has brought into the world first-hand. Your workflows and processes need to be tech-friendly or automated.
Think less of a paperless office and the smoothest way to accomplish something. As the saying goes, “There’s an app for everything these days.”
Recreational Opportunities at the Workplace
Millennials believe that a stress-free work environment will be conducive to being more productive. Dedicating a space to unwind in the workplace is a prerogative that almost every
millennial expects. As much as it might seem like an unnecessary luxury, it aids to the reality that stress and pressure is to all professionals alike.
Having a gaming console, a reading nook or a foosball table can help employees distract themselves when they are facing a work-related issue, and come revisit it relaxed and with a fresher perspective. Additionally, it contributes to a creative environment and builds better interpersonal relationships across all organisational levels.
So, There You Have It.
While there is a lot of debate over the productivity and efficiency of millennials, it is important to remember that today’s workforce will make up tomorrow’s leaders. Presently, startups are creating very millennial-friendly work culture, and there is a lot we can learn to enhance our workspaces to stay productive. It is advisable to invest in this generation as they are a fast-learning and resourceful lot and in turn, can contribute to the overall growth of their company.