Understanding the new millennial workforce
What drives employees and what are their needs? This was one of the key issues discussed at the recent HT Shine HR Conclave
Shailja Shah Purohit
This tech generation has a strong sense of individuality and HR can no longer view its employees as a composite group, said HS Pati, director personnel, SAIL, setting the debate in motion. HR today needs to understand and relate to its employees at an individual level. The new millennial workforce needs to be treated with respect. Employees need a forum to express their views and be recognised as individuals.
Neelima Kataria, HR head, Firefly E-ventures, reinforced this saying, “HR can no longer afford to be aloof. It has to interact with the individual, in the canteen, in the corridors, in informal settings - if HR is to be effective today.”
Suresh Ramasubramanian, director HR, Max India, felt social media was a powerful tool to make this connect with the new generation. “We need to connect with them on their plane, to get a pulse on what is driving these people.” Social media is fast becoming a key means of knowledge management, as this is where the new millennial is searching, interacting and connecting.
Prof OP Gupta, director, IBS, in his keynote address, outlined the changing role of HR in this context when he said, “The success of an organisation today depends on how well they can meet changing expectations of the tech economy generation, and this is what is redefining the HR system today.”
Ramasubramanian also opened a fresh line of thought on the changing role of HR when he stated “there is probably a need for HR to move towards a more market research- oriented role.” Tarun Kochhar, founder and CEO, Carpediem, who was the moderator for the event, elaborated on this line of thinking, saying, “Just as a marketing person must make the consumer aware of his brand, must understand the consumer psyche and then work out how to make them stick; HR too needs to use the same methodology, where the ‘consumer’ becomes the ‘employee'. This aptly covers the key challenges of HR today - employer branding, talent acquisition and talent retention.”
Another key point discussed was the need for HR to be more solution- oriented and have a more creative approach to hiring as well as performance management. Kataria felt HR needs to ask the question, “Are we rewarding the right people, and how can we better implement differential rewarding.”
Kochhar summed up the discussions succinctly when he said “we need to be connected to the new millennial and yet value the differences.”
The conclave was held in Delhi, The Park (Connaught Place) on February 7, 2013.
Tarun Kochhar, founder and CEO, Carpediem, handing out chocolates to the audience