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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present strategies maximizing the millennial talent. The study focuses on finer aspects such as millennials interests, likes, risk tolerance level, and unhappiness at workplace. The paper also underlines that the generational differences in the workplace cannot be ignored but only has to be welcomed to build an organization that exhibits and promotes inclusive behavior. Design/methodology/approach The research design adopted for the study is exploratory in nature. The research analysis is based on the information/data collected from the journal articles, newspapers, and the various conferences and majorly from in-person discussions with the HR heads. Findings Millennials engage in discussions with their age group and peers, who are like-minded. They often tend to exhibit intolerance with incompatible and thus avoid talking to older generation workforce in the organization. While confronting them, they like to challenge the status quo and go beyond the conventional way of doing things. Research limitations/implications The findings and the implications reflect the perspective of millennials employed in the services industry. Further research can focus on other industries especially in the manufacturing sector, where the scope of innovation and doing different is limited. Practical implications Millennials express very little loyalty when compared to the older generations. Further, they also feel that they are underutilized and have greater potential to do more. Organizations should take every effort that the older generations help the millennials in understanding the work, invest time in coaching and development of their leadership skills. Originality/value The study presents an alternative in managing the millennials thereby maximizing their talent in the workplace.
Human Resource Management International Digest
Managing millennials in the digital era: building a sustainable culture
Bharat Chillakuri, Ramanjaneyulu Mogili,
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Bharat Chillakuri, Ramanjaneyulu Mogili, (2018) "Managing millennials in the digital era: building a sustainable culture",
Human Resource Management International Digest, https://doi.org/10.1108/HRMID-11-2017-0168
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Viewpoint
Managing millennials in the digital era:
building a sustainable culture
Bharat Chillakuri and Ramanjaneyulu Mogili
Talent management has become the heart of the HR function with scores of millennials
joining the workforce in the digitalized world. Despite completing three decades of
their entry, managing these millennials (Generation Me) still remains a difficult task
for most organizations. Millennials are outgoing, assertive and team up quickly (Howe and
Strauss, 1992). They prefer instant feedback and are interested in engaging conversations
and being coached. Millennials are over ambitious and like to challenge the status quo.
They engage in discussions with the like-minded and often exhibit intolerance with
incompatible. A study by the American Psychological Association (2017) corroborates that
millennials prefer working with professionals with similar strengths and thus often distance
themselves from older professionals. As a result, senior executives, mostly the Generation X
groan at the quality of millennials being hired in the organizations forcing the organizations
to rethink the way they view the talent.
With the emergence of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and
Augmented Reality, there is a dearth of skilled workforce across the industries. Adapting to
the ever-changing technologies is challenging to both millennials and senior professionals.
However, millennials have been exposed to various technologies since school and their use
of technologies in every facet of their life has sharpened their ability to cope with newer
technologies. The fact that they are ambitious and insatiably curious to explore new things
underscores their hunger to learn new things every day; hence, the contribution of
millennials to the organization cannot be easily written off.
The research on millennials focused on their work values, behavioral component, conflict
with their supervisors, and their intolerance toward ambiguity and ignored finer aspects
what interests them most, likes, passion, risk tolerance level, unhappiness at workplace,
etc. The generational differences in the workplace cannot be overlooked but only has to be
welcomed; hence, an attempt is being made to present strategies in maximizing the
millennial talent.
College to career
As millennials enter organizations, they pass through the transitional phase marking the end
of adolescence and the beginning of the adulthood. These individuals experience variability
in terms of age, demographics, and their socio-financial status. Lack of uniformed teaching
system in the academics challenges these individuals in the workplace. During their earlier
days, they are curious about the organization, collect information, and become
knowledgeable as much as they can. Once they get acquainted with the organization, they
identify themselves with the organization and contribute towards its growth. The leadership
must ensure smooth transition and create a congenial environment to accept the millennials
the way they are. School to work transition theory (Wendlandt and Rochlen, 2008) often
Bharat Chillakuri is a Client
Account Manager at
Deloitte LLP (Offices of the
US), Hyderabad, India.
Ramanjaneyulu Mogili is a
Doctoral Research Fellow,
School of Management
Studies, University of
Hyderabad, India.
DOI 10.1108/HRMID-11-2017-0168 ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 0967-0734 jHUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT INTERNATIONAL DIGEST j
Downloaded by University of Hyderabad At 02:54 15 May 2018 (PT)
referred as STWT highlights three phases, namely, anticipation, adjustment, and
achievement. The theory also states that new hires who cannot connect with the workplace
leave the organization in the first two years of their joining.
Communication to over-communication
Millennials are detail-oriented and gather as much information as possible before kicking off
a project. The Innate curiosity acts as a driving force to search and know everything that is
relevant to them. They are restless and keeps learning constantly from day one to their last
working day in the organization. In fact, one of the easiest way to manage their
unquenchable thirst is to update them with all the organizational, team and work related
information frequently. To suite their working style, organizations need to constantly
communicate with these individuals. However, they do not like being overloaded with
senseless overkill of information; thus, the messages should be concise and clear. The
comprehending ability varies with each individual; therefore, organizations may prefer to
frequently communicate, as it reinforces the message, eliminates the ambiguity, and builds
trust between the employee and the employer.
Manager to coach
Performance management systems in the organization have undergone a paradigm shift
and the organizations are moving away from the bell curve or the forced distribution
method. An analysis into this revealed that the millennials want frequent, instant, and more
feedback. They do not like to wait until the year-end just to know about their performance,
further they are more interested in engaging discussions and coaching. In the initial days of
their career, they expect more from a manager; hence, managers should be willing to
provide ongoing consultation and provide real-time feedback. Identifying the strengths and
playing to their strengths are critical aspects in enhancing one’s performance. Certain
individuals might be well aware of their strengths, while others may not; hence, managers
should coach by asking intuitive questions to discover their strengths. Strengths could be
seen as strengths to deliver and strengths to nurture. Strengths to deliver are those that are
required to perform well in day-day work, while strengths to nurture are those that will be
mastered over the course of the time. It is important for a manager to groom the individual in
a way that the work they do motivates and keeps them energized as the millennials
experience highest level of stress.
Learning to development
Learning and development is a key function of the human resources that devises training
programs to develop competencies of the employees across the levels. Most of the
organizations have mandated the training hours per year for employees; hence, employees
complete the mandatory hours based on the training calendar prepared. However, the
effectiveness of the trainings is still a baffling question to the leadership. The return on
investment from these training programs seems under achieved. Development of the
individual refers to the employer providing opportunities to help the employees grow. In
other words, it should be more of futuristic in nature focusing on the development of the
individual and support them in accomplishing their goals. The learning calendar should
incorporate the real-world situations and focus on learning aids that imparts millennials with
all the necessary information to do their job effectively. Besides, they should be given an
option to choose their learnings, as the chances of excelling at their learning remains high
keeping them motivated and upskilled. It is also a best practice to invite external facilitators,
as they bring in new perspectives outside the organization.
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Reimagining workforce
The need to stay connected becomes critical in the digital world as organizations are adding
headcount, projects, and locations year over year. To bring in the oneness, organizations are
confronted, where their youngest employee is 20 years old, while their oldest employees are
at an age of 50 or above underscores the importance of revisiting the organization the way
they are functioning currently. According to Kevin Bandy, Chief Digital Officer, Cisco,
reimagining workforce refers to rewriting the rules of business and will require a workforce
that is appropriately equipped to work with the speed and agility that this level of change will
demand (Cisco, 2016). In other words, it means a workplace where employees invest in
themselves by building new capabilities; exploring new possibilities, together by creating a
conducive, self-sustaining environment for innovation and collaboration; changing the lens
by adopting a new culture of being bold and inclusive; enabling well-being by balancing
new and evolving priorities; and empowering voice through two-way communication and
complete transparency. Such a transformation cannot happen without commitment from
leadership, and it is high time for the leadership to move from nice to do versus need to do
model.
Conclusion
Just as parents strive to give best to their children, the older generations had to provide
better working opportunities than they had which could only happen when they engage in
discussions with open mind and being transparent. Research indicates that millennials stay
loyal to work when they enjoy coming to work, they want work to be fun and hence
organizations should consider creating a work environment that is fun. Besides,
organization need to build a culture that is scalable, supportive, and sustainable for the
future generations too, as very little is known about the next generation, popularly known as
Generation Z.
References
American Psychological Association (2017), Stress in America CopyingWith Change Part 2, APA.
Cisco (2016), “Business leaders must reimagine the workforce in the digital age”, available at: https://
newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1761406 (accessed 4
November 2017).
Howe, N. and Strauss, W. (1992), Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069,Harper
Collins, New York, NY.
Wendlandt, N.M. and Rochlen, A.B. (2008), “Addressing the college-to-work transition: implications for
university career counselors”, Journal of Career Development, Vol. 35 No. 2,pp. 151-165.
About the authors
Bharat Chillakuri is as a Client Account Manager at Deloitte US Offices. He has more than
ten years of experience in Human Capital Consulting, Client Account Management, and
Market Research. He is also a Visiting Professor at various business schools in India
teaching General Management and Change Management. His research interests include
strategic human resource management, sustainability development, corporate social
responsibility, and sustainable strategies. He is a recipient of Santander Doctoral
Scholarship for the year 2015; he is one of the 22 outstanding doctoral students across the
world who were invited to participate in the Santander International Summer School at
University of Heidelberg, Germany. Bharat Chillakuri is the corresponding author and can
be contacted at: bharatchillakuri@gmail.com
Keywords:
Talent management,
Millennials,
Millennials workstyle
jHUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT INTERNATIONAL DIGEST j
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Ramanajaneyulu Mogili is a Fulltime Doctoral Research Scholar at School of Management,
University of Hyderabad, India. He is a recipient of Junior Research Fellow from University
Grants Commission, India. His areas of research include talent management, employee
engagement, supply chain, and technology management. He has written articles and
presented in some of the prestigious conferences in India.
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Business leaders must reimagine the workforce in the digital age
  • Cisco
Cisco (2016), "Business leaders must reimagine the workforce in the digital age", available at: https:// newsroom.cisco.com/press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1761406 (accessed 4 November 2017).