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Why You Should Pay Attention To Young Outsiders
We've gone a little traditional, a little formal and presented to you reasonable arguments about the quirks, habits, likes and dislikes of some millennials and a lot of post-millennials.
We’ve taken a rather novel approach with the delivery of this newsletter. Instead of a story, we present…
An Article For You
In the recent past, there has been a surge of millennials and post-millennials in the workforce. For easier reference and because they cannot be easily comprehended, let’s call them the ‘young outsiders’. So why this surge? While on the surface it may seem related to a demographic rapidly reaching retirement age, or even employers bringing in new blood and fresh ideas in to the office but this isn’t the case. One of the most important reasons for this infusion of young talent surge is that over 70% of Indians are under the age of 40, and of these 35% are working age population—making this particular segment critical for the growth of the country.
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These young outsiders are inquisitive questioners and norm challengers who see past daily grind. Employers are keen to understand what makes this generation tick and many of them are eager to include their thought processes in their team, not that employers have an option. However, this demographic cohort isn't like any that came before. Millennials and post-millennials, like any other generation, have expectations of their employers. They come with a unique, quirky, and often confusing (to generations past) set of expectations before they would even consider joining a company.
One would argue that not all of the young outsiders are the same and one would be right in saying that. There is no doubt at that, but all this article says is that some of their expectations are similar.
Witness of change
Both generations have grown up in a digital, hyper connected world and as a result, seek instant gratification in everything they do. While older millennials have experienced the before and after of the digital revolution, Gen Z knows no other way of life. The biggest example is Google—everyone depends on it for information they seek. A young outsider has no comprehension of how easy it has become to accomplish tasks today as compared to the past. From spending hours with a dictionary trying to find a word to googling it in seconds; from breaking heads in libraries looking for research material to finding multiple sources online, from filing important papers to storing them in the company drive on the web. They have gone through that change and are the ones that are using it to their advantage the most. They are not just participants in this change but have emerged leaders of it.
Listen to their ideas
When they contribute ideas in meetings or discussions, they might occasionally think impractical but never will they think impossible. Their only limitations are their thought processes and abundant imaginations. They want to be heard and acknowledged. The workforce and most companies are, in fact, in dire need of out-of-the-box, revolutionary ideas that no one has thought of. So pay attention to what they have to say. Just like IDEO, a US-based global design company did. When designing a product, the top management at IDEO takes a step back and lets the employees of the company come up with product ideas. The best ones are then selected with votes and a prototype is developed within a day or two. At this stage, the leader of the process or the top management steps in and decides which prototype will be used. The concept adopted by IDEO is simple, effective and one that taps maximum creativity from employees. The end result? Happy employees and a successful company. And all it takes is for someone to listen.
Trust wins over anyone
I’d like to illustrate this with a story. I was chosen to intern with a company I had wanted to for the longest time. It was a relatively small company and probably why there were no gaps in communication between the ranks. A week before I joined, I received a call from the CEO himself. He said he wanted to meet me. I was surprised and hesitant, but agreed to meet at a nearby mall. We met and talked for close to two hours in the crowded food court. After we were done with lunch and his welcome, he explained his request. He wanted the meeting to get to know me. He said, “There is no hierarchy as such as there is no control over another in our firm. However, there is one thing common between me and all my employees, be it an intern or a known associate - I trust them. This meeting has confirmed that your ideologies match ours and that I can trust you. I am ready to share whatever information you request about the company, even monetary.” As he said this, a sense of loyalty towards him set in. He did not make me sign a contract. This was the level of trust we had in each other and I still feel very close to the company, despite my internship taking place 2 years ago. Trust wins over anyone and it has been proven several times over in history.
Freedom, guidance and path
If you capture their interest, young outsiders will seek to be involved in as much as they possibly can in the company they work for. They want to be able to make a significant and meaningful change in their organization if they are given the liberty. They want to rise and fall with a firm. Everyone works for their own betterment at the end of the day but here is the twist. If you manage to make a young outsider realize that they are a part of something much bigger than themselves, they will devote all their capabilities in helping you achieve your goals. They need a mentor, a person to give them the right direction. They want guidance but at the same time the freedom to carve their own path. Give them their time and only be there to course correct when they go astray. Give them freedom, and watch them soar.
Work and social life balance
Millennials and post-millennials love to have a balance between work and social life. Gone are the days of companies and bosses insisting on 10-12 hour workdays and 6-7 day weeks with the odd grudging holiday thrown in. Young outsiders won’t tip the scales of work-life balance in either direction but will always chase balance in both. Earning money at the job they love and having the ability to spend time with their friends and family is what they want. Personally, it is the best choice anyone can make. They want to avoid more than anything else, a life filled with regrets. So, how does an employer deal with this? An adequate amount of responsibility is what is required. Not more work and definitely not less work. The right amount. The right amount to get the recognition so work-life balance is not just words on paper. If you are able to offer them flexible timings or even remote work opportunities, even better. Give them their creative space and channel their energies to get the most out of them. Long gone are the times when it was necessary to come to the office to get work done. Change with the times, be a bit more open to the idea of being able to work from the comfort of your own home. Even great people started from their own garages, not offices.
At the end of the day, make sure these young outsiders start thinking as entrepreneurs in your company. Make them intrapreneurs. They will bring about the change required. It is a fact, not an opinion. They view your company from a different perspective, probably one conventional wisdom will never be able to see. Make sure you nurture them enough for you to reap the benefits. It is your job as an employer to make sure they stick around. It is not giving in to their needs, it is catering to your own.
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Felt bougie writing regards.