Topic: “Securing the millennial talent in the emerging market.”

The following is an excerpt from the panel discussion ‘Onimia’ that took place on day 6 of Disha 2014. The panel comprised of five industry stalwarts and was moderated by Prof (Col.) P.S James Area head HR, TAPMI. The audience got the unique opportunity to understand HR practices currently followed by the panelists in their respective organizations. The discussion centered on leveraging the talent offered by the millennial generation (born between 1980 and early 2000).

Mr. Om Prakash-VP of HR at Deloitte USI: Mr. Om Prakash emphasized that effectiveness is measured by the productivity of small teams in an organization. Teams are comprised of people with varying experiences. Managers need to invest in managing the diversity of the teams. He said that there should be no preset hierarchy in the organizations as knowledge and expertise trump hierarchy in a team. He felt that, to be effective, managers should be tech savvy and that there is a need for the current leaders to develop and nurture future leaders from the coming generations. He concluded by saying that enabled employees when confronted with challenges will always yield results.

Mr. Suraj Chettri-Head HR at Airbus & Airbus group India: Mr. Suraj Chettri felt that there is no real difference between GenX and GenY. Human beings are influenced by their surroundings and are often shaped by the prevalent ecosystem. He said that the hard work of the previous generation has provided a higher platform to start off from to the current generation. Thus, he felt that self-actualization is more important for the current generation as everything else is easily available to them. He said that the only distinguishable feature between the current and previous generation is the tech savviness of the current generation i.e GenX will have to adapt to GenY. He concluded by saying that in his organization, every opinion is given equal importance and respected, irrespective of generational difference.

Mr. Nagaraj V, Senior Vice-President & Chief People Officer at Arvind Brands: Mr. Nagaraj started the discussion on a thoughtful note, “We don’t understand the word millennium; in my opinion we never really deal differently with who’s a millennial and who’s not”. He further added that in today’s time, organizations deal with the people of today and people of today come with different economic backgrounds and circumstances. He also put forth that nowadays organizations don’t emphasize on rules but rather focus on innovation, ideas, and fun, hence people get an opportunity to give feedback and put forth their ideas. Mr.Nagaraj concluded with an authentic thought, “You can’t tell the millennium to adapt, the organization must adapt to the character of the millennium. The organization has to take cognizance of this fact, there is no choice”, this statement depicts the current scenario of the mindset of the millennium. When asked about the competition factor that is widely prevalent in today’s time Mr. Nagaraj explained that the only advantage in previous generations is that there was no competition, and this millennium’s biggest challenge is competition.

Ms. Ranjana Anand, Director HR, Asia Pacific at Optimal Strategix:Comes from a market research company. She finds that current generation is more focused and they come with a mindset that this will be our career. They know where they have to go. They take jobs that would lead them to their career and their goals. They also have to have a lot of fun during this process. Engagement comes through training, whether it’s On Job Training or functional training; Ms. Ranjana’s organization also tries to give personal development training as well. She concluded by saying, ‘We reward and recognize every good work that is done. The person in our company becomes the brand. That’s why we have referral programs in our company because we want our employees to speak for the company rather than the company going out and telling about themselves’.

Mr. Parthasarathy Sarangapani, Head of Talent Acquisition at any generation, whether it is X or Y, it is the character of that person that matters. In his recent experience of hiring people from top b-schools, he looked for the candidates with certain values that the company could align with because values don’t change with time, they remain the same. Mr. Parthasarathy concluded by saying, ‘It is our policy documents that come with a lot of graffiti, so that people can adapt and appreciate what we are trying to show’. The way of communication has changed. Technology is imperative, but it does not bring any change in the organization, but the character of a person does.

So, although a lot​ of people are available for jobs, millennial talent can be differentiated with character, and vision that a candidate has.

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