Monday, April 11, 2016

How do you attract and keep millenials?

That's the biggest challenge that firms face today: how do you attract bright, young people and how do you keep them?

Lucy Kellaway has a scathing piece in FT on what you should NOT do and what you might do.

The standard answer, which she got from a Columbia university prof, was: motivate through learning, market your benefit, invest in HR.When she put this to her kids, all beginning to work, it was met with derision.

What puts off new recruits to a firms and makes them want to leave sooner rather than later? One reason certainly is that they don't get the necessary respect or attention:
One graduate told me she had just spent four months working on a deck of 250 PowerPoint slides no one would ever read. Another said juniors at her law firm were expected to nip out to buy sandwiches for seniors, as if they were their fags at Eton. A graduate with a first in English from Oxford university said her boss insisted on checking every email she wrote before it was sent, making her doubt her own ability to write a sentence. Almost everyone complained of the sheer stupidity of the tasks they were given to do. 
Another is the gap between expectations and the reality. Employers promise youngsters the most exciting jobs in the world and then go on to under-deliver by a wide margin. Then, there is the gap between what companies profess and what they practise:
More dangerous still is the gap between the corporate bullshit and the business itself.  A young graduate at a management consultancy tells me that every day it is drummed into him by superiors that the firm always acts in the best interests of the client. But every week he watches the same people trying to flog further costly services that the client doesn’t need. 

Kellaway has a simple answer to the problem of retaining millennials: stop promising big things and just try to make the job a little interesting.

I can assure you that this is not a British thing. A few months ago, a student of mine here at IIMA told me that he was in touch with dozens of his seniors. Not one of them was enjoying his or her job. They were sticking to their jobs because it meant a certain status and money and because there weren't too many meaningful alternatives (unless you wanted to go into academics).

Maybe my sample is biased but, amongst middle and senior executives I have come across in the public sector, I see less complaint, a greater sense of fulfillment. In many cases (such as the Railways), a very deep sense of loyalty. Clearly, all the money the private sector is throwing at people doesn't seem to be creating loyalty or satisfaction.


Chaitanya Patel said...

In private sector, employees are "commodity" which can be purchased for which "cost" needs to be paid.

Also private sector (in India) generally needs "yes" man and not "true" value adder compared to private sector in developed world where there is acceptance of disagreement.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Chaitanya...the private sector in India tends to have "Yes sir" culture.