18 Mar 2015 16:09 IST

Reorienting organisations for gen-next

Millennials crave collaboration, team-based projects and easy flow of information

We call them Millennials, GenY, Gen Next, the MySpace Generation, to name a few. Whatever we choose to call them, they are the future of our workforce, with an expected 50 per cent or more share in it by 2020. Millennials are unlike any of their predecessors and are redefining work culture at all levels. They view the world differently and have redefined the meaning of success.

We require new training strategies for them. For that, we need to understand how the Millennials are different from their previous generations. Millennials see life in circular, optimistic terms. This is partly because they have grown up with technology, and that has given them access and the ability to do diverse things at the same time. They don’t view managers as experts but more as coaches and mentors.

According to Gartner Research in Lynch, Millennials crave collaboration, team-based projects and an unstructured flow of information at all levels. They have an outward-looking perspective and interact with an extensive network of communities beyond their employer and seek flexibility in their roles. Most of our corporate clients and MNCs are facing the issue of how to effectively engage and utilise the Millennials entering the workforce. There is no doubt that they are intelligent and smart and willing to deliver. There are a few tips that can help us understand and work better with this generation:


Most Millennials are an affluent generation and brought up being told they were the best or brightest, and thus, their thirst for immediate feedback is never-ending. We need to provide feedback, good, bad, or otherwise, in the moment. The key is to never allow speculation or assumptions with them

Go heavy on the rewards

Millennials are very social. They'll celebrate one another's success while being vocal about not getting appreciated while someone else is. Managers/leaders should provide clear, written guidelines that detail the career path to success within the organisation and, explain reasons for their actions. Being open and transparent is very important.

Set high standards: Millennials strive for perfection, if it interests them! So, motivating them is very crucial to see them give their best. However, the organisation needs to set very high standards in order to bring out the best as well. If they are not performing, subtle remarks on how to improve, rather than speeches will work better.

Work culture and quality of work: 30 per cent Millennials say that work should be meaningful. In fact, meaningful work scores over high pay as well. They need to feel that the work they are doing is having an impact on their co-workers, on their manager and on the company at large. When we talk of work culture, it is important to note that their cultures are very different; they would like to work from home, work flexi hours and take up tasks on a project basis. This generation is interested in the ‘why’ aspect more than the ‘how’ and organisations will have to answer to that in order to make them perform better.

Millennials are more about “the network” than “the hierarchy”. They care less about titles, status and salaries and are more drawn to projects that connect with their strengths and abilities and favour managers that support them through training and development.

Lastly, multitasking is the Millenial’s forte, and managers need to keep them interested with different kinds of work while giving them the autonomy to decide how they want to do it. Monotony and boredom completely turn off the Millennials and managers need to ensure that does not happen.

It is important to remember, however, that basic values of smart work, innovation and positivity remain the same. Harnessed and nurtured, Millennials will positively change the way organisations work and think.

The writer is chief mentor, Viztar International