By AWATIF GHAPAR
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With all the stereotypes being thrown at both millennials and the employers, how can we make workplace a better place of productivity?
We have heard and read about the rise of the millennials and how this generation is impacting the workforce of the future.
While some workplace factors remain the same, millennials still have to navigate through the struggles of what the past generations had gone through – debt, recessions, shifts in politics and economy and job crisis. Yet, it is commonly known that money is not the main motivation in driving this generation to work every day.
An article in Fortune states that based on a research by Fidelity, millennials are agreeable to take an average pay cut of USD7,600 for jobs that match their values and aspirations while 94% of them would want to maximise their skills for a good cause.
Employers must then play a significant role in making sure that the millennials who join their organisations are feeling fulfilled with their work, hence generate productivity that helps to skyrocket the company’s performance. One of the ways to win over the hearts of these millennials is by creating significant and meaningful work for them – be it the workplace, job description and work culture.
Looking into the future
The future of work lies in how much millennials are empowered to deliver the work in an organisation they are working for or their own startup.
Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey found that 7,800 future leaders – the millennials from 29 different countries – say the business world today is getting it all wrong. Some 75% say they feel businesses are focused on their own agendas rather than improving society, while only 28% feel their current organisation is making full use of their skills.
It is important to note that the millennials come with this why mindset. They question the core of the things they do, and the work has to serve its purpose and aligned to their values.
Many ideas have come about on how employers and corporations can create more meaningful work for the millennials. In reality, there is no one size fits all concept here. The initiatives taken highly depend on the organisation’s values, business aspirations, lines of leadership and the future outlook.
Here are three practical steps to winning over the next generation of workers:
1. Communicate impact appropriately
Many organisations make very strong attempts to fit in with the demands of the future workforce that they tend to tackle the “form” rather than the “substance”. So they end up revising visions and mission statements to portray messages of helping to develop a better world and environment for the population. As such, most of those initiatives are only at face value, only to reflect the seemingly good image of the organisations.
The impact of the initiatives being made should come alive and be purposeful, sustainable, effective and reasonable. Employers should avoid only harping on the statements without actually executing the steps needed to move the needle towards making changes. Employers need to have a good sense of direction that the work is framed to add meaning.
Millennials find more satisfaction in doing the work in a company where transparency is practised in the utilisation of the technology, resources and talent. They also want to create shared value, make positive social and environmental changes, and increase opportunities for disadvantaged populations.
2. Initiate upskilling
Initiate upskilling opportunities on mentorship, skill acquisitions and co-leadership. We understand that the stereotypes being thrown at millennials include them being lazy, feeling entitled and demand for fast results which are not on par with the effort invested in.
However, contrary to these beliefs, millennials would likely work harder and put more effort if the employers are also willing to invest in their development. These young talents really appreciate the opportunity to learn from someone with expertise; and they want that on-the-ground experience to happen immediately.
We all have heard of mentorship or co-leadership. In the Asian context, it is only in recent years that it had begun to gain popularity. With the existence of mentorship in organisations, millennials would feel like their work and effort are being appreciated, constructively guided.
When this happened, they are more likely to deliver their best knowing that if they do it right, the effort will be recognised and utilised for greater good. And if it is incorrect, someone would care enough to correct them and show the right way to deliver – hence improving their performance.
3. Invest in learning and development
The human resources (HR) department needs to play a key role rather than confining them to administrative work – roles that are more strategic and developmental.
Let’s face it – a large majority of millennials seem to stay on the same job and organisation for an average of three years before jumping on other roles.
In addition to this, millennials are not the only ones that are job hopping – it’s the same of the generations preceding them too, possibly due to the rapid advancement in technology and the emergence of industry loyalty.
So, how would HR strategise on the investment especially in terms of skills learning and development for talents who are bound to leave in three years?
HR should focus on designing training programmes focusing on skills development, while helping their employees prepare their next career endeavour in say, three, five and 10 years’ time.
By making such investments, it will create a sense of appreciation among the millennials that the employers are interested not only on their work performance but also their personal goals. This will motivate them to find their work meaningful, knowing that the organisation places attention to their progression and personal aspirations.
In conclusion, it is important to note that meaning-making is an act of self-expression, a chance for employees to reveal who they are in what they do. It is found in relationships between people, not ideas.