Y and Gen Z will be making up more than 50% of the current workforce by 2025
*Based on Universum research
“Millenials…Gen Zs…how different are they and
how do we prepare ourselves as employers to create a work environment conducive
to attracting, engaging and retaining them?” Over the last few years we
have had intense discussions on this topic – to a point, I felt, that many
started tuning out.
Recently, my daughter
expressed her discomfort with friends who seemed to crack a joke on her. We had
an intense discussion on the importance of self-deprecating humor, which keeps one
grounded and helps us enjoy with friends. I cannot envisage this kind of a
conversation with my parents when I was a seven-year…probably not even when I
Whatever your sentiments on the
topic of generations at work, none of us can refute the fact that the world
around us is changing more rapidly than anyone anticipates, technological
advances are coming faster – at a pace never seen in the last millennium, and
the younger generations are growing up in different paradigms than people of my
In my organization, we are having
conversations around “moments that matter” in an employee’s life. These moments
are life events for our employees that really matter and leave an emotional
recall in their minds. Interview, offer, onboarding, first review cycle, merit
increase, promotions, marriage, first child, amongst others are examples of
moments that matter. The consistency in how we make them feel and how we
support them is what creates their trust and engagement with the organization. The
second part of this conversation is whether we have the predictive technology
that can help us be more proactive in addressing an employee’s needs…may be
right before they realize it themselves.
When I applied the concept
of “moments that matter” with what research tells us about Millenials and Gen
Zs, the following themes emerged:
Define the Why. As Simon Sinek
brilliantly articulates, “There are only two ways to influence human behavior:
you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people or companies can
clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do… WHY does your company exist? WHY
do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?” It was never
more important to have this figured out as an organization as you try to
attract and retain this talent.
Frequent “How am
I doing?” discussions.
Agile and real-time ways of sharing feedback are critical for these “digital
native” generations used to having answers to questions at their “google-tips”.
GE’s Performance Development system aims to do just this.
& life. Work
environments that enable flexible
schedules and ability for our
employees to work while managing their personal priorities.
transparency around career opportunities, enable experiences that will help
them get there. In India, this is the single most important factor for this
generation and hence the most relevant for each of us.
From a business standpoint,
great talent is going to get scarce – by 2030, many of the world’s largest
economies will have more jobs than skilled people to do those jobs. Ability to
attract and engage this talent is critical for long-term business success, not
only from a workforce but also from a customer standpoint.
I will leave you with two
questions I think about frequently…are we as a function challenging ourselves
enough to transform at a pace that will help us stay ahead of this curve? Have
we built enough flexibility in our systems/ processes and the awareness with
our leaders to be able to adapt our approach depending on the generations we
have working for us?