Engaging Millennials

Reetu Raina, Head - Talent & Culture, Sterlite TechnologiesHeadquartered in Pune, Sterlite Technologies is one of India's leading telecom products, services & data transmission solutions provider offering services such as Telecom Product Solutions, Smart City Solutions, Sterlite Ultranet, Telecom Software, and many others.

Characteristics in individuals develop by way of experiences. So the influencing factors that nurture these characteristics become crucial in deciphering the behavior and bring to light the various motivations that help employees connect with their work and be more driven to do better. Millennials can-not be generalized as a homogeneous stratum across globe, as the influencing factors in each country and culture differ hugely. There is a lot of research available on characteristics of millennials in context to developed nation. But there is hardly research avail-able on the subject keeping in mind the context of emerging countries like India.

While researching India's millennials in 2013, I realized though there are differences but there are equal numbers of commonalities. Therefore, irrespective of the location where this generation will be working-in, their characteristics would be common, since the place of origin that helped in developing these traits were the same. One of the major factors which make the millennials behave the way they behave is the influencing factors.

Looking at the era when millennials were born which is 1980 onwards the world has evolved much faster, technology is defining you in every space, world has become connected. This all created a world of abundance for millennials irrespective of Geographies

And if we look at key characteristics of millennials, the germinating factor is when you come from abundance you are more assertive, live by your terms and can only be com-mitted if you believe it. Commitment is not driven by compliance, but by passion. This is positive outcome of abundance as influencing factor.
At the same time world is never a perfect place we look at all sets of people for the organizations to run. Corporates do need passionate people, but passion is enveloped in context of organizational reality. Organization work as unit and not individuals, this calls for compliance and disciplined focus in execution may not be expected from millennials.

Millennials need to be guided and not told as their erstwhile counterparts. To create the engagement models we need to understand key characteristics of millennials

As the millennials come from influencing factor of abundance their disciplined focus on execution can be challenging. More so in today's mix it is the multigenerational workforce, which is operating in today's work-place. And most of the times millennials are lead or managed by Gen X. Even though millennials would have all the right intent but what creates the challenge is understanding their Gen X managers, which puts the key characteristics like compliance, focused discipline irrespective of belief as the major criteria for better performance. What millennials have to offer cannot be leveraged due to this generational understanding conflict between Gen X and millennials.

We are progressing in this era which can make the world better place by its ability to leverage technology, which millennials can do very well. Millennials are no different from any other generation, but they bring a perspective having grown in techno-logically savvy world with ample opportunities. They are technically much smarter than previous generations. Organization can leverage on this talent pool by creating the right engagement models, which help millennials to get connected with larger purpose of the organizations. Millennials need to be guided and not told as their erstwhile counterparts. To create the engagement models we need to understand key characteristics of millennials. The key characteristics of millennials are as follows:

Ambitious & Risk Takers
• Key experiences and challenging work.
• Growth opportunities engage them rather than job stability as was true for earlier generation.
• Keen on higher education (since majority are in Aspirer Category Education is still way to do well in life. More focused on education than their global cohorts).

More Transparent & Less Bureaucratic: Readiness to Comply with Fair Reasoning
• Desire/drive to make a difference.
• Keen sense of competition both regional and global.
• Eager to prove they are not less than their global counterparts.

Need for Identity & Role Model
Unlike their earlier generation who had a strong social system to anchor this generation identifies with work and looks for role model in workplace. This need to Identity and role model is peculiar to Indian Gen Y, as their global cohorts had not experienced the social and joint family structure from the past as well so gap was never felt. Once organization understands the key characteristics of millennials engagement, models can be created which meets the aspirations based on these characteristics.