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Industry Stalwarts Discuss Millennials And Work Environment

“In this time of industrial revolution 4.0, it is vital that organizations should encourage continuous learning for the employees and must focus on clear and transparent communication.”

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Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon recently organized HR Conclave at Le Meridian hotel in the presence of luminaries from HR industry. The conclave themed as “Millennials and the Evolving Work Environment” had two-panel discussions on the topic “Managing Millennial Motivations” and “Navigating the Technology –Impacted Workplace. Niti Khosla, Global Lead, People Analytics, and Business Impact, Novartis International, Switzerland was the keynote speaker for the first panel and Dr. Manoj Varghese, Former Director (HR), Asia Pacific, Google and Former Director (Operations), Facebook India delivered the keynote address for the second panel.

Delivering the keynote address, Niti Khosla spoke about the key traits the millennials exhibit, laying emphasis on the motivation at the workplace as the important driving factor for their performance. She suggested that for millennials, a preferred rating system of the appraisal process should be replaced by frequent feedback, awards and recognitions to keep them satisfied, as this generation prefers instant gratification and immediate reactions. She also spoke about changing work environment brought in by the technological disruptions, where the only thing that is relevant is that the work is being delivered effectively and efficiently. “In this era of Gen Y, balance in life through flexibility is very important”, stressed Ms. Khosla. She concluded by saying that, “In this time of industrial revolution 4.0, it is vital that organizations should encourage continuous learning for the employees and must focus on clear and transparent communication.”

The list of panelists for panel 1 had names like Mr. Piyush Mehta, CHRO, Genpact; Mr. Nishit Jain, EVP & Head, Premium Banking and NRI Business, IndusInd Bank; Mr. Ravi Parmeshwar, CHRO, ReNew Power; Mr. Udayan Dutt, Global HR Director, Corporate Functions & Category, Health & CHQ, RB; Dr. Poornima Gupta, Associate Professor, Great Lakes, Gurgaon (Moderator). 

The discussion began by pointing out what has changed in the workplace scenario over the years that is impacting the behaviour of the millennials the most. The panel felt that technology, speed and purpose are having a huge impact on the working of an individual today. The choices have increased for the millennials, and they have a tendency to strive for achieving the best in a very short time period. So, the work environment has to evolve accordingly. Small successes of short target and regular rigorous feedback motivate them a lot. Millennials are well informed and are extremely concerned about whether they are involved in the decision-making part by the organisation or not and the degree of involvement in decision making is very important to them, opined the panel. The panel discussion ended on the note that millennials have high risk-taking ability. For them, every purpose has a commercial value and this attitude can be leveraged by organizations by providing them with the right tools and opportunities to see them achieve higher goals for the organization and for themselves. 

Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Manoj Varghese touched upon several points related to the physiological and psychological factors which are affecting the millennials’ mind. He named the millennials as Technology Intertwined Generation, as technology makes them see the world differently. He emphasized that we need to focus on implementing advancements at the workplace keeping in mind the kind of environment needed by the millennials. According to him, although FOMO, ringing syndrome, lack of sleep and low attention span are making the millennials impatient and anxious, however, at the same time it is observed that millennials are excellent in visuospatial attention and also, they have increased cognitive flexibility. He concluded by saying, “Keeping all these factors in consideration, technology can be the best used to get this Gen Y to perform extraordinarily while implementing transparency in feedback and collaboration.” 

The lists of panelists for panel 2 had names like Anuranjita Kumar, MD, HR, RBS Bank, Rahul Ghatak, Co-founder & Director, Acumetric Global Solutions; Ms. Madhavi Lall, MD & Head, Human Resources, Deutsche Bank, India; Nanjappa B S, Vice President (HR), Infosys; Dr. Bappaditya Mukhopadyay, Professor, Great Lakes, Gurgaon (Moderator). 

The discussion began on the note that the organizations today should establish their work environment keeping in mind the tech-savvy millennials. The millennials prefer agile workspaces with recreational facilities. Also, the panelists made an analogy by saying, as one size doesn’t fit all similarly, an organisation should become more receptive to the different set of talents and millennials appreciate this behaviour. Fundamentally, they want to grow faster in Maslow’s Hierarchy of need and achieve more in a short period. However, the panel also felt that from aspiration point of view there is not much difference seen among Gen X and Gen Y, and it has been identified that diverse people in a particular team affects the business in a better way. The discussion came to an end with the point that the institutions should prepare the students well by providing them real-time exposure and nimble environment through experiential learning more than anything else so, that they can actively adapt in the technology impacted workplaces. 

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