Understanding The Millennial Workforce: Catch Them Young!

By Nishith Chaturvedi – VP & Head – Human Resources, NPCI

New age technologies require new age understanding and curious minds working them to churn out the best results. Innovation works best when people are thinking about something that has never been done before, perhaps by using the same tools, in a different way. Employers have been talking about the next gen workforce who don’t just believe in following but are curiously interested in creating, the millennials who are changing the work culture globally by instilling their enthusiasm to create a better connected world through technology.

The millennials are a whole new generation born between the 1980s and 2000. They were born in the time of a rapid change across the world in business, technology, lifestyle and culture. Having witnessed the oncoming digital revolution, what defines the millennials best are their ease of adoption of tech, they are the first digital natives on the planet, they like to play social and stay connected, have less money to spend but big dreams to pursue and their priorities are very different from how the world has thought so far. They are energetic, open to ideas and exploration and above all, more focused on career in terms of making the right choice.

Almost all workforce related reports convey one message singularly; that the world is undergoing a fast change and companies need to evolve alongside to keep businesses alive by integrating advanced technologies and flexible work culture to keep the younger generation excited and ongoing. As we head towards a time when people of the age group between 22 – 35 will comprise major chunks of the workforce, how does an organization adapt itself to the growing differences in expectations? This question has been asked over and over at forums and gatherings, at conferences and summits, and while few organisations have already started working towards making themselves more relevant, there is still a long way to go.

As employers strive to recruit and retain the best talent from management and technical institutes, it is extremely important to remember that your organization is not the only one trying to get the best talent onboard. The competition is fierce! To make a mark on a student’s shortlist of companies they would like to go work for, it is beyond emphasis that you ought to catch them early on. Executive education and student outreach initiatives are now the key to create awareness and influence young minds to add value to a booming business.

Taking about talent gap, according to NASSCOM, “each year over 3 million graduates and post-graduates are added to the Indian workforce. However, of these only 25 percent of technical graduates and 10-15 percent of other graduates are considered employable by the rapidly growing IT and ITES segments.” This is just one industry. Considering the overall picture and then bringing the lens down to focus on BFSI, the pool is quite big, but the employability of fresh graduates often mismatches the requirement or vision of the business. Payments sector on the other hand is a furiously growing segment of the BFSI industry currently, and is seeing a generally higher influx of interest among the students.

In order to ensure that your organization gets seen and heard at the right stage, executive education programs and collaborations with premium academic institutions work great. These programs not only help the organization evaluate the quality of the available talent pool, but also provides an opportunity to engage and interact with these students. Campus to commerce model is taking shape in various forms with organisations realizing the importance of investing their effort and time in shaping careers.

Both organisations and institutes need to come together to create a platform that not only allows students to take a peek into the business of a potential employer, but also to be able to align their passion for innovation in building a trust relationship with the employer. Hosting competitions or organizing forum discussions for cross group knowledge sharing, sessions where experienced professionals and fresh graduates come together to create and build are only few ways that we already know of. The horizon expands as people start taking notice of new technologies and assert themselves to create more with them.

A thoughtful and smart employer will look at gauging the potential of participating students through pre-placement camps, hackathons, paper submissions through the executive program. A strong line of communication where people are not afraid to think beyond the possible and voice it through their work will help build an environment that allows and fosters free thinking. Organisations when seen implementing the concepts coming out of such collaborative sessions, fosters the essence of being true to their promise.

More and more people are now looking at exciting opportunities across sectors as India continues to open up to advanced research and development, product based portfolios and increased interest in digital businesses. The right time to invest in resources is when the economy is showing signs of positive growth, and India is riding on a path to achieve the same.

Once on boarded, integrated mentorship programs, training schedules catering to the growing need for up skilling at work and employee development programs are the tools organizations use to engage and retain relevant talent. Over and above a flexible work culture and exciting perks, today’s workforce is motivated with the zeal to build something new, contribute towards an industry changing model and become the part of an important change. Engage them with the promise to create a better future, because if that is what your business strives for, you are in the right century. Innovation drives businesses, the opportunity to innovate drives people.