Landscape of the Indian job market and the job seekers has changed significantly over the last 5 years. With more access to talent via job portal, active placement cells from colleges and staffing organisations offering end-to-end solution, the gap of talent search is getting narrower. But what is more important is the new face of the job seeker, they are 5 years younger than an average job seeker a decade ago, which only means paradigm shift in the aspirations of young Indians. This new brigade which is redefining what constitutes a great place to work is the Gen Y.
Lets first understand the portrait of a typical Gen Y person. They are ambitious, prefer loyalty vs quest, have multicultural ease and are networking by nature.
Few companies in today’s knowledge-intensive economy would deny that they compete on the caliber of their people. With this richer understanding of the Gen Y profile that now dominate the workforce, the challenge becomes clear. Companies whose employment offers align best with the shared values of Gen Ys will enjoy a major talent advantage. If we were designing a workplace from scratch today, or consulting to a big employer, we would insist on below crucial elements which are most important to Gen Y job seekers :
- Nurturing corporate culture.
Gen Ys view having strong friendships with co-workers and bosses as extremely important to them. There is much anecdotal support of workers staying longer in jobs simply because they loved the people they worked with — and did not want to leave them.
2. Job flexibility.
Gen Ys not only want flexible hours and schedules, but remote work options because of their perception of the never-ending intersection of work and life. They see themselves doing work everywhere — except in a cubicle. Jobs must be designed to accommodate these workers personal lives — not the other way around.
3. Challenging work.
Gen Ys, more than any previous college grads, are graduating college with a dynamic mix of academic and work experiences that have them positioned to contribute from day one. They are not interested in “grunt” jobs, or jobs in which they have to “pay their dues;” they seek challenging work from the start.
4. Professional and personal growth opportunities.
Gen Ys value lifelong learning. They also tend to get bored easily and seek out new things. They want employers that offer tuition reimbursement, sabbaticals, and other growth opportunities.
5. Volunteering options.
Gen Ys have been involved in service most of their lives and have a true commitment to bettering the world around them. Employers should develop organizational volunteering programs and options that allow workers to continue these efforts. Having an organizational culture that supports these values is essential.
6. Competitive salaries.
Gen Ys — especially younger ones fresh out of college — have more debt (both student loans and credit cards) than any previous generation, and they demand a salary that not only recognizes their contributions, but also helps them pay down the debt. Some employers even have programs in place to help these workers pay off student loans.
7. Advancement opportunities.
While Gen Ys are certainly not the most loyal bunch (but don’t blame them — blame those employers that downsized their parents), they do seek out employers that have a plan for their success. Employers should examine and create new ladders to guide younger workers through a steady progression in the organization.
8. Recognition programs.
Gen Ys were raised in a bubble of constant praise and recognition from their families, and so this kind of constant reinforcement and recognition is something they expect. But please, no Office Space “flair” programs; instead, implement authentic work recognition programs.
9. Business casual.
Gen Ys, as a whole, have more tattoos and piercings than any previous worker cohort — and that personal style also applies to how they dress and how they want to dress for work. While they can look great in business suits, many prefer a work environment in which they can wear comfortable clothing that expresses their individuality.
- Intrapreneurship programs.
Study after study show that Gen Ys have an extremely strong entrepreneurial focus — with many planning to start their own businesses (partly so that they can control their own fate). Employers can retain workers longer — while leveraging that entrepreneurial sprit — by developing incubator and intrapreneurship programs and opportunities.
More important than any program or set of imperatives is the insight that every new generation of workers brings with it particular values that reflect not its members’ youth but, rather, their fundamental makeup. Sometimes, lacking sufficient heft and arriving in subordinate roles, they—and their preferences—hold little sway. In other eras, like this one, they get what they want.
The organizations that thrive will be those that recognize their people’s shifting values and preferences—and that find ways to make the work meaningful on those terms.