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What Works When Millennials Work. Find Out At Infosys Confluence.

Posted by Aaron M. Oser (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:52 PM

What Works When Millennials Work

Get ready! The millennials are coming to the workplace. In fact, over the next decade they will overwhelmingly be the global workforce. OMG, keep reading B4 U G2G! This is major! It seems to me that this has triggered off a dilemma of sorts in the corporate sector. On the one hand is the general acknowledgment that the unique set of competencies, skills and perspectives that this generation brings will be indispensable to the success of any 21st century enterprise. On the other, there seems to be at least mild anxiety about the challenges of accommodating their unique expectations, principles and worldviews into the conventional workplace.

Millennials are the future of work. It follows, therefore, that it is workplace conventions that must adapt and evolve to conform to their requirements, not the other way around. And that is excellent news. Because, in spite of what you may have heard about this supposedly screen-fixated demographic, their collective ideals and beliefs will disrupt and transform the entire culture of work. For the better. Here are just a five ways in which they will do it.

Problem finding will be key - Young people today are an optimistic generation in the face of a challenging future. They are keen to learn the methods and approaches to problem framing and articulating, so they can then go ahead and improve it all by finding or creating the right solutions. They believe that this will improve their job prospects even as they recognize that global forces will continue to increase competition and complexity in the labor market.

Mentor and nurture entrepreneurship - It follows from the earlier point I made that the millennial generation is almost inherently entrepreneurial. Given an option, they would rather chance their own destiny than chart a relatively predictable course to the corner office. Organizations need to harness this impulse and nurture it through focused mentoring models. There is a huge opportunity to channel their creative energies and entrepreneurial drive to kickstart internal innovation. Businesses can enable millennials to pursue their passion by creating time-off-for-innovation models that have yielded significant results for companies like 3M and Google.

Collaboration will become the norm - A culture of collaboration is top priority for the millennial generation. For starters, this means that the physical design of the workplace would need to evolve to encourage more communication and collaboration between all employees. In a globalized economy, millennials will expect businesses to provide them with the technological tools and opportunities to collaborate on interesting projects with their peers around the world. Enabling the free flow of knowledge and information throughout the enterprise should become an embedded part of work culture.

Learning and teaching will be clear priorities - Despite a broadly positive view towards their education, significant numbers of young people question how well their academic experiences equip them for their careers. That's why they have high expectations of their employers in relation to training and skills acquisition. Smart employers will satisfy this keen appetite for continuous learning and develop a workforce with flexible skillset that allows the business to adapt in a fluid working landscape.

Purpose, rather than profit, will be the metric of enterprise value - Millennials want to make a positive impact on society. No surprise then that they expect their employers to pursue the same ideal. They value enterprises that have a well-defined social purpose and seek to make a positive contribution to society at large. An organization's approach to issues like inclusivity, diversity, equality, and environmental and social impact will have a bearing on millennials' choice of employer.

Emphasis on workplace learning, teaching, collaboration, scope for personal fulfillment, and a sense of social purpose - these are ambitious, even noble, attributes to expect in a place of employment. So how to alter our workplace culture to actually get there? Join me and my two leader panelists from National Australia Bank and Sysco Corporation who have done exactly that and can show us how. Join us on April 29 between 9:15 and 10:00hrs Infosys Confluence.

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