The Global workforce will comprise of 75 percent millennials by 2025. At EY Global Delivery Services (EY GDS) in India, approximately 88 percent of our workforce comprises of millennials. With an exponential growth trajectory over the next 4 years across our offices (both in and outside of India), the number of millennials will continue to grow and will slowly move into positions of decision making, managing teams and influencing the direction of the organization by providing their candid views.
While D&I continues to be a hot topic in India, the primary focus for most organisations continues to be gender parity and the advancement of women. Those organisations that are mature on their Diversity and Inclusiveness framework and strategy, have begun focusing on the rapidly growing millennial population in the workforce. India in particular is one of the youngest countries in the world with 65 percent of the population under the age of 35.
There is plenty of research online on millennials that includes information on their expectations from an organisation in reference to primary organisational drivers such as culture, learning and development opportunities, use of technology and flexibility. While the information Google throws up is valuable for Talent and D&I practitioners looking to understand the minds of the millennial Indian joining the workforce, at EY GDS India, we wanted to understand first-hand what our millennials valued and what kept them engaged and motivated.
Not just another survey
So we went ahead and designed and rolled out a survey not only to understand the primary engagement drivers of different generations in the workforce, but also to dig deeper into potential areas where intergenerational conflict could possibly hamper high performing teams from achieving their collective goals. Essentially, our aim was to strengthen our strong cohesive work culture with everyone retaining his or her original identity. We launched the survey and had a large percentage of our population respond to questions on organisational culture, rewards, workplace flexibility, overseas assignments, recognition, in house learning opportunities and the scope for rapid growth. Our research findings corroborated with our EY study on work life challenges across generations which stated that the millennial population in India valued scope for rapid growth, organizational culture, and recognition as key engagement drivers that are on offer as part of our eco system.
We also noted some trends on working style, respect at work, networking capabilities and comfort with technology that were typical to GEN X, GEN Y/Millennial and GEN Z. Here are some highlights.
GEN Y/Millennial and GEN Z have a more casual working style in comparison to their predecessors. Changing perceptions of work style by giving importance to the end goal rather than face time would ensure workplace harmony for a multi generation workforce
Respect at work:
While the younger generations are more tolerant to sarcasm at work or a noisy workplace, the older generations expect respect. It will help if the younger generations maintain a minimum corporate decorum and the older generations warm up to the casual attitude of the younger generations.
Gen Z and Gen Y are more outgoing in their ability to network amongst colleagues. This is of value to the Organization as this can lead to greater cohesion and more effective working. Intra-Organization forums that promote connectivity amongst the older generations (Gen X and Free Gens) and the rest can help them network to a greater extent.
Comfort with technology:
The younger generations are more tech-savvy and depend on technology to a greater extent than the older generations. However, the seniors showed a great interest in adapting to technology as could be seen from a greater percentage of them advocating virtual meetings as against the younger generations. With all generations responding positively to technological advancements, this tech comfort can be leveraged for greater business benefits.
Candid discussions with a multi generation workforce
The business case for generational competence is clear to those working as change agents within an organisation. The question to ask is, do the people working across multi generations understand the differences in work style preferences, comfort with technology and overall attitude towards work/life of the majority of the workforce within the organisation? Our Diversity Council that comprises of senior executive leaders from across the organisation were keen to invest in digging deeper into the complexities of working across multi-generations. We wanted to throw light and debunk myths around some of these areas so we conducted “Intergenerational Conversations”, a series of workshops to uncover biases and assumptions while working across a multi generation workforce. An accurate summary of the workshop is reflected in this quote from Simon Sinek – “as we navigate through the generational shift taking place in the workplace. Perhaps there is an opportunity to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate our generational differences. Instead of looking at these as gaps, let’s figure out how to bridge them. Knowing that accountability, goal clarity and prioritizing responsibilities is such a critical component for driving millennial engagement and reducing turnover.”
The three hour workshop covered topics ranging from the origins of stereotypes and their impact on intergenerational conflict. We also discussed the life changing events that were prevalent for each generation and how that impacts their work values/style, use of technology and networking ability.
An employer of choice for the talented millennial
EY is the world’s #1 professional services employer in Universum’s World’s Most Attractive Employer rankings.
To strengthen our commitment to being the top employer for the millennials, our GENY/Millennial Employee resource group will comprise of an enthused mix of GEN X, GEN Y/Millennial and GEN Z employees. Initiating a GEN Y/Millennial Employee resource group will ensure that we can represent the ever growing population of millennials within India, own and brain storm ideas that will help the firm grow to its fullest potential with regard to attracting and retaining millennials and help take on challenging projects that will add value to the employees and the organization as a whole.
Top tips for putting together a strategy to launch a GEN Y/Millennial Employee Resource Group (ERG)