How are millennial priorities evolving the HR system?
Millennials (born between 1980-1992) and post-millennials (born between 1995 and 2000), also known as Generation Y and Generation Z have already started to represent a major share of the global workforce. In India, due to a very high working youth population, the Gen X and Gen Y employees have the potential to represent the new generation of workers in the coming decade. As with any generation, shift in mindset and work related philosophy is bound to happen for both Gen Y and Gen Z. Studies conducted in the western context have already identified marked difference in the manner in which Generation X managers perceive their immediate junior employees belonging to generation Y. Research in this area has highlighted the need for understanding the mindset of these generational cohorts in order to reduce friction with previous generation workers and also to utilize the optimal potential of these generations.
In terms of attracting and retaining millennial and post-millennials at workplace, organizations are revamping the traditional template for compensation and benefits. Hindustan Unilever, for instance, has started catering to the changing needs of its employees by supporting dual career couples, and the option for employees to choose their own career growth path. Millennials prefer to be more connected with their workplace and in a bid to address this need, several firms have launched novel initiatives, such as the “U&I” dialogue mechanism at HCL Technologies which allows employees to share their views and concerns with their colleagues. Millennials are also motivated to showcase their potential and get instant recognition for their effort. To cater to this urge, employers are designing structured programs for employees to showcase their ideas and talent – be it some hackathon competition, or the “Acumania” initiative started by RMSI Lab.
Flexible benefit plans are the need of the hour, and no organization understands this better than Flipkart. Flipkart’s flexible benefit program includes revolutionary facilities such as customized perks and reward plans, benefits for single parents, child-care and elderly parent care, financial support for surrogacy and gender reassignment surgery. A Bangalore based technology solution provider start-up, Code Nation, provides its employees the benefits of flexible work hours, fully paid training visits to their Dubai location, and international off-shore assignment opportunities.
These benefits are highly valued by the workforce at Code nation, majority of whom are representatives of the millennial and post-millennial generation. Another firm which is making a very good name for creating an attractive workplace for retaining talent from the new generations is Sap Labs. Sap Labs has a wide array of employee benefit offerings for its employees, ranging from in-house creche facility to ‘Work from Home’ option and customizable leaves for parents both pre and post child birth. Bharti Airtel has gone one step ahead and are providing employees with in-house grocery stores so that the employees do not have to commute to a store to purchase household stuff after a long day’s work. The company also provides spa and fitness facilities for its employees and allows workers to take six- month duration paid leave to pursue higher education or for managing work-life balance. Coca-Cola, the beverage mogul, has started a policy of “kids@work” which allows employees to bring their children to their workplace and show them how the company works.
This initiative addresses not only the issue of less time that parents get to spend with their kids due to long work hours, but also helps the kids get an interest in their parent’s profession. Several other welcome initiatives such as social engagement drives and recreational activities have also been adopted by software firm Intuit technologies and the travel booking company MakeMyTrip, which have been widely appreciated by the new generation employees of these firms.
The above examples show how organizations are realizing the shift in employee motivation with respect to the millennial and post-millennial employees. Firms are accordingly adapting to such changes and are reinventing reward and recognition policies to meet these changing demands. The post-millennial generation has not yet begun to enter the labor pool in a full-fledged manner, but already there are inclinations that their needs may be different from the millennial generations by some distance. The world of virtual organizations and crowd-sourcing is going to usher in the gig economy and we are going to witness more changes in the traditional brick and mortar set-up of organizations. So, the uphill task of attracting and retaining talent is going to get much more tough and ambiguous in the coming decades. Time will tell how corporations react to that challenge.