Corporations with long tenure in mature industries often operate based on a number of principles that is reasonably stable. The most important one is that the future success of the corporation is based on the same principles as the historic success. The leads to an operating principle focusing on continuous improvement: Evolution over revolution or small incremental changes to what was done last year. The model is also based on a view of the market as a place with stable boundaries and actors that are quite similar and unchanging – a place of competition.With the rise of first the internet and later the revolution of social networks, unlimited power of the cloud and the rapid move to mobile technologies, no industry is immune to disruptive changes.It is well known that the disruption can come from a change in product offerings, like the iPhone changed the mobile industry. It can also come from outside the market boundaries like Google’s absorption of advertising budgets or it can be a disruption of the supply chain the way Blockbuster died from Netflix competition. Most mature companies are aware that they need to keep an eye on changes in the market structure, customer preferences.
There is however a significant change underway that will fundamentally change the way corporations has to operate in order to succeed independent of what industry or market they operate in. The rise of the Millennials or generation Y as people born in the 1980 -2000 time span has been categorised. This is not a surprise to the marketing departments of consumer based corporations – they know Millennials are different customers to the prior generations (generation x and baby boomers) and work hard to position offerings attractive to them.
What seems to come as a surprise is that Millennials are also becoming a significant factor as employees.
Before 2020 Millenials and younger generations will become the dominant part of the labour market everywhere, and most of them will work in an environment designed by generation X for generation X. This is likely to fail, just ask your marketing department.
survey done by beyond.com shows that the gap between Millennials perception of themselves and that of HR professionals are very different, This indicates the expectations of the corporations based on Gen X thinking and that of Millennial employees are very different – a recipe for disaster.
The problem has still not become visible as very few corporations has been in talent acquisition mode since the financial crisis but as Gen X moves towards retirement it will become an issue
It is easy to point fingers at HR and HR policies and blame them for not adapting to attract and retain the new employees but the problem goes a lot deeper. Millenials don’t see work as a chore like the baby boomers and they don’t see it as means to an enjoyable life outside work like generation x. They are hard workers but not motivated the same way as earlier generations. Millennials want freedom, trust, support, fun and they need a higher level purpose to really engage. Corporations need to develop a purpose above and beyond profit and revenue. To attract and keep Millenials, it is imperative to create an environment of personal growth, equality, Social/Environmental responsibility, freedom and team spirit.
Are your company’s policies designed to enable employees or limit them?
This might sound alien to companies firmly based in command and control thinking but it is already being implemented by successful companies in the new economy. Google, Amazon, Netflix, Tesla and similar companies are ahead and design their people policies very different.