Modern HR practitioners are facing a turning point in the industry. Once upon a time, employees stayed with one company until they retired. Accordingly, HR practice was geared towards this assumption. However, since the turn of the millennium, a shift in attitude towards work has taken place. The new cohort of employees, born in the 1980s, was just starting to enter the workplace. They had different values from those before them – placing more importance on work-life balance, disdaining the traditional top-down management style, and also eschewing the concept of lifelong company loyalty. These new employees are from the generation termed as the millennials. Millennials came of age during a time of change; the computing revolution, coupled with multiple economic crises has coloured their worldview. Millennials’ affinity with technology is one of the clear defining features that sets them apart from their parents, the ‘baby boomer’ generation. They have grown up with the Internet, smartphones and social media being the norm and expect instant access to information. They use social networking to create a different sense of belonging, make acquaintances, and connect with friends. Consequently, their attitudes towards the workplace are also different from their elders. On one hand, Baby Boomers resonate primarily with loyalty, work ethic, steady career path, and compensation when it comes to their professional lives. However, millennials place an emphasis on producing meaningful work, finding a creative outlet, and have a preference for immediate feedback. For years, companies have labelled millennials as narcissistic and entitled. However, as many employers are finding out, this simply isn’t true – millennials have a different mindset and outlook from previous generations. According to a survey done by PwC, over 25 percent of millennials believe that they will have six employers or more during their lifetime. Millennials have seen that corporate loyalty doesn’t necessarily bring rewards or even long-term security in today’s volatile economic environment. It’s clear that millennials are always keeping an eye out for opportunities, even when they are not actively looking for a new job. Self employment is becoming more and more common, and has it felt like more people with job titles of ‘freelance’, ‘self-employed’ and ‘entrepreneur’ are popping up? The rise of the ‘gig economy’ and the ‘Uberisation’ of jobs offers millennials an unprecedented opportunity for creativity and entrepreneurism. In a nutshell, HR practitioners may have to re-focus their HR strategy, hiring and retaining millennials isn’t the huge paradigm shift it’s made out to be. Millennials’ perception towards work has been shaped by global happenings and trends that have been in the making since the 1980s. Nevertheless, above all, adopting a common-sensical approach to managing employees, millennial or not, is the key to attracting and retaining millennials.
Jobs/ Nov 21, 2019 ()