India is a young country, with about 600 million people under the age of 25. No other country in the world has such a young population. The millennials are disrupting everything around them, even changing India’s consumption story. According to a Deloitte India report, millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the chief wage earners in India with a 47 per cent share in the working age population. So they have more disposable income and are digitally connected. They are also driving significant shifts at workplaces.
According to a Barco study, two thirds (66 per cent) of IT decision-makers claim that millennials ask for the most assistance when presenting. Earlier generations cared about stability and structure the most in their jobs. For them, the roles had to be clearly defined, performance had to be monitored and feedback had to be given in a structured manner.
But today, things are different. With technology overpowering traditional means, millennials care about instant feedback, coaching, flexibility and the opportunity to use hi-tech products. Millennials want to be able to work out of anywhere, any time, and have the right tools to communicate and collaborate.
Hence, businesses are today opting for better technology or products to enhance meeting room experiences and buy tools and solutions which can help them seamlessly share and present. This has given the collaboration industry a huge boost. Today, if you want to attract the best millennial workforce, you’ll have to have a culture of empowerment and collaboration.
Building an agile workforce
As technology continues to augment human capabilities at work, millennials are pushing boundaries to create an agile work environment. Various studies have shown that millennials want to feel fulfilled and do work that has an impact on business. They are making a shift towards a more collaborative environment and a creative thought process, and also want to have fun while working.
This group doesn’t want to follow protocols and ‘old school’ rigid business practices; rather, they want their organisation to show them where the company is headed and then give each and every employee the freedom to work creatively and collaboratively to reach that goal.
Drive the use of technology
Millennials are digital natives, and technology is a part and parcel of their lives, not just a way to augment capabilities, unlike the previous generations. They have been familiar with and accustomed to the use of technology from when they were less than 15 years old. Which is why they have an instinctive feel for technology and can grasp tech concepts and practices much faster than someone over the age of 50. At workplaces, millennials are hence driving trends like BYOD, use of collaborative tools to communicate across geographies and boundaries, and remote work.
As emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and internet of things take centre-stage, millennials want to be able to use these technologies creatively to build products and solutions to solve real-life challenges.
More and more people of this generation are moving to start-ups and small and medium businesses today. This is primarily because these segments are quicker to adopt high-end technology to tackle real-life challenges. More than 70 per cent of start-up founders in India are under 35 years, and this is the highest in the world.
Most organisations fail to attract the right millennial talent because of certain misconceptions. Most HR or business heads think attracting millennials is all about creating a fun environment, offering higher pay-scales, setting up games-rooms, introducing extra-curricular activities, and so on. But there’s much more to these young people than such inducements.
As India embarks on a journey to transform the workplace, augment it with the right technology and bring in modern practices, millennials will be at the centre-stage of this process. Organisations will benefit from devising strategies to catch them young and get the most out of them.
(The writer is MD, Barco India.)