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June 10, 2015

Time For A Millennial Makeover

Posted by Richard Lobo (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:40 AM

Infoscions at a bowling alley at our campus in Mysore
Infoscions at a bowling alley at our campus in Mysore

Being a part of the human resource team at Infosys, questions that frequently come my way, across the board, are: How do you become an employer of choice for millennials? How do you become a company that addresses and exceeds millennial expectations? Although the answers to these questions are far from simple, it has become increasingly important for employers to realize the impact and potential of the vibrant talent that exists within and outside. The key to organizational success will be about leveraging these strengths and making the impossible possible.

It's perhaps wrong to call the millennials a bunch (which implies they're a few in number) from an employment perspective. According to a recent study by Pew Research, millennials are now the largest workforce in the U.S. with 53.5 million employees, which is about one third of all workers in the country. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey (January 2014), millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025.

They are certainly not only about numbers. There is much written about the potential of the millennial generation. And then there are the blockbusters. Think Mark Zuckerberg. Think Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat. Think David Karp of Tumblr. And back home, Phanindra Sama - co-founder and CEO of Red Bus and many more. These young entrepreneurs are redefining the way we do business. So don't be surprised if, in just a few years, we are reporting to a millennial CEO!

Well, until then, we are entrusted with the responsibility of keeping them happy and engaged. So, what do these hyper-connected, tech-savvy and highly driven youngsters want in the workplace? They want to strike the perfect work-life balance, constantly learn and up-skill, and also feed their curiosity. They appreciate an open culture in the office environment, and they also seek instant gratification. Come to think of it, it's almost like dealing with my teenager at home! But the most satisfying aspect is that these teenagers know what they want from lives and their careers.

But do we, as an organization, know them and their aspirations well enough? At Infosys, we are certainly beginning to. Infosys made headlines last week for its cool quotient. The formal dress code has been retired and Infosys employees will now sport a smart business casual look throughout the week. This change is symbolic of a deeper transformation taking place within the company, as it sloughs off old skin to emerge as a workplace of and for the new generation.

Consistently rated among the top workplaces in India and other parts of the world, Infosys has always striven towards these goals. As we continue this journey into the digital age, the key expectations of the millennial generation are serving as our guideposts. So, new look apart, we are changing from the inside to become a more open, communicative, learning-oriented, community-rooted and consumer tech-driven company. And our millennials are taking note: Just today, Dr Vishal Sikka ─ the biggest champion of this change ─ has been featured among the top 50 in Glassdoor's annual Employees' Choice Awards for the Highest Rated CEOs in 2015.

As Vishal says of leaders looking to inspire their employees: "They must at the heart of it put their trust in the team - bring the best people together, create an environment of sharing and learning, and then give them the space to open their imaginations. This is when we see true innovation emerge, when all of us have the creative confidence to explore." True to this vision, Infosys, which runs the largest corporate university in the world, has taken learning to a higher orbit, under his aegis, pioneering Design Thinking learning in partnership with Stanford's d.school - for all its 1,76,000+ employees. Growing in creative confidence, finding unknown problems, and creating path-breaking solution with empathy for end-users.

And so the millennial makeover gains momentum as we just go ahead and construct the future of our aspirations...founded on the basis of our innovations, our collective imagination, knowledge and conviction.

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