Managing Millennials – Hitting the Right Chord

Managing Millennials – Hitting the Right Chord

Regardless of opinion, Millennials seem to be almost the largest in the workforce at the moment. A significant number of leaders especially those from the previous generations of Millennials struggle to manage them effectively. Some of the leaders over the time manage to blend in and understand them which helps in getting things done through the Millennials yet few have to call for the end of the collaboration due to the generation gap and clashes of opinion. First and foremost, the best way to manage a Millennials is to combat the most common stereotypes about them.

These 3 key highlights may help leaders to better understand and manage the millennials thoughtfully.


1. Create Meaning


Millennials strive and dream to create meaning in almost everything that they embark on. They are optimistic and always want to achieve their goals in their own unique way. Being appreciated and valued not just from superiors but peers too are some of their expectations at work, in other word recognition is their distinct feature. Work and target accomplishment is very meaningful to them as they prefer to share it electronically. One of their greatest satisfaction is the sharing on social media, being their daily and continuous boost for them both at work and personal life. They find this engaging and fulfilling.


2. Freedom is Key 


Give them the key to freedom or unlock them to achieve freedom within their known and comfort boundaries. Micromanaging is definitely not acceptable by many but then is more predominant among the millennials as they hate being micromanaged and having a close monitoring system on them. Having a personal space and a strong self-belief in themselves are ultimate expectation from everyone around them. Not just that, Millennials want their opinions, ideas and thoughts to be considered and if rejected it should be accompanied with a solid justification. This is highly essential to them. An optimistic approach and the strong self-confidence combined with ability to support and make the business lucrative and profitable in unique and creative ways are other key characteristics in them.


3. Growth Opportunity


It might not be an overstatement if I say everyone of us look for opportunity and growth at workplace and there is no exception for Millennials. With the concept of rank and file becoming outdated, a quick jump and progression in career is becoming more and more popular. A sturdy strength in Millennials is their capability to bring positive and productive changes in business and making things move with the speed of the lightning. In line with these changes and contribution to business they want a fast career progression combined with job satisfaction and concrete engagement at workplace.

In order to get the best out of Millennials, invest more time to better understand them and their working style and get rid of the wrong and harmful myths about them.



Managing Millennials – The Tips & Tricks

Managing Millennials – The Tips & Tricks

Managing workforce has always been an overwhelming and interesting mission for many of us. With most organization embarking on Industry 4.0 coupled with the global digital convergence, there seem to be a thrilling attentiveness and ever-changing trend in global talent. This becomes the top priority for organizations and a challenging efforts for HR and Talent practitioners. Nowadays, handling diversified team and multi generations is becoming a norm and managing cultural sensitivity and ethnocentrism is definitely a big experiment.

Researches show that that the Millennials/Gen Y will be ruling the workforce in the next few years with a significant number of Baby Boomers leaving the job market. With such situation managing the workforce diversity especially placing a greater emphasis in managing The Millennials.

In order to getting the most out of the Millennials and meticulously manage them, consider the following tips and tricks.


1. Technology Literacy

Technology Literacy

Millennials are the first generation to experience technology and internet as part of their daily life as they are born and live with it. As they embrace technology and actively engage with it, organizations should capitalize on it, to achieve their goals with the support of Millennials as they are good in digital communication both internally and externally. There is a wrong assumption, that they are solely interested only in technology. Millennials love smartphones and social media platforms, meaning that they are much more capable in applying technology at work as well as personal purposes compared to earlier generations. Capitalizing on this definitely brings success to organizations and let’s make the most out of them.


2. Work Life Balance & Flexible Working Arrangement (FWA)


Millennials don’t prefer to lock themselves with the 8 or 9 hours work schedule. They enjoy flexible work arrangement in a conducive working atmosphere and expect autonomy in their work. A significant number of them, firmly believe in having the choice of working remotely be it occasionally or exclusively as long as the job assigned is accomplished. This is definitely in line with the Gig Economy which engages on freelance assignments in the years to come. Having a strong work life balance is highly essential for the Millennials as they expect balance and creativity in everything that they are engaged in.


3. Provide feedback and be a Mentor

Provide feedback

In order to champion and get the best out of Millennials, implement inverse/reverse mentoring, which helps the older generation to polish up their technological knowledge and enhance creativity at workplace with the guidance of Millennials. Accept the fact that millennials may not respond to stiff protocols and conventional way of managing workplace and people and imposing such thing can help organization to reach the nearest exit door in business. Being permissive, flexible, encouraging, approachable and giving feedback are some of the traits that make you closer to them. The hierarchy system and being autocratic are recipe of disaster to work with Millennials.

In a nutshell, leaders working with millennials should clearly understand that mentoring, providing feedback, creating career progression and flexible work arrangement plus technology integration are key expectations in managing Millennials. Last but not least, understand that they are digital natives and both are inseparable.



The Way to Lead  Engagement Driven Leadership

The Way to Lead Engagement Driven Leadership

Employee engagement brings sense of ownership towards the organization

Engagement driven leadership is definitely a part of leadership by example or being a role model as an extraordinary leader. A leader without title still manages to create followers via engaging them and creating the importance of the presence. Many studies show that the more engaged the employee is the higher the chances of retaining them in the organization be it at emotional or at rational engagement Engaging employee and keep them motivated and retaining them in the organization is a challenging task for many.

Engaging employees is absolutely a topic of key concern among organization and talents and it sternly embeds with talent retention. An engaged employees have a great sense of ownership towards the organization and the leaders (role model), and most likely to stay longer than the other employees and contribute enormously both in their personal growth and to the organization’s success leading way to higher customer satisfaction as well as new businesses.

Leaders who fail to fulfill employee engagement soon or later have to follow the business nearest exit door. It’s time for leaders to establishing a robust reputation, attract and retain talents via in the business world of engagement as the core.


Digital integration to enhance customer relationship, employee engagement and business solutions

In SelfDrvn we work closely with renowned clients with a robust and noteworthy customer base coming from various industries and background. As we have established a solid relationship and significant reputation with our clients, they are always keen to share their engagement plan and strategy for digital integration purpose. One of the substantial learning point for us from these clients is how leaders and companies adopt and welcome ideas with open hands especially from the Gen Y. The ideas gathered through various channels such as organization climate survey, idea box, ongoing surveys and weekly/monthly meetings are then filtered by the cross teams and goes to the hands of the leaders for further engagement efforts. This clearly indicates the great importance that these leaders and organizations give to both employee ideas and concerns to further enhance customer relationship, employee engagement and business solutions.

Our client, Nettium has expressed that SelfDrvn tool has helped and supported the leaders in engaging employees especially the younger workforce. The gamification tool that we applied on them has positively resulted in leaders to be understanding their younger generation workstyle and needs, which further assisted them in solid and engaging management as leaders.

Nettium_Employee_Newsfeed   Nettium_Polls   Nettium_Coporate_Campaigns

Another feature that Nettium has benefited from SelfDrvn is adopting the feedback culture embedded as one of our services to client. Employee perceive it as a 360-degree feedback tool that anonymously support in promoting the feedback culture in Nettium from their peers as well as managers. With such features, manager has embarked on their self-improvement based on the feedback given by employees and has strengthen their leadership skills along the way.

A good leader has the ability to champion this and manage it tactfully. In other words, engaging talents fuels leadership skills leading towards empowerment and retention at workplace.  Extraordinary and successful world leaders involve their team and make them feel valued and engaged and part of the organization.

Transparency and rewards based leadership suits in managing the current generation workforce. Keeping this in mind, SelfDrvn has one of the features allowing employees to voice out their opinions based on the survey questions with point accumulation at the same time. These points later can be used for redemption and also use it for monthly auction purpose.

Nettium_Employee_Rewards Nettium_Employee_Rewards

Leaders who build purpose of employee existence and work on on-going effort to engage them in the team and organization fuels sense of belonging to the organization. Employees feel connected and may be glued to such role models and those leaders always strive in engaging them in every single efforts and keep them informed.


Three key aspects of employee engagement – Motivation, Communication and Bonding

These factors can make or break working relationship and plays an important role in bringing employee under one umbrella within aligned core value and unified goals. An essential challenge is how leaders act as role model and drive the entire engagement efforts instead of being a components of engagement.

Failure to engage employee most likely leads to increased cost to the company and higher turnover. There are many leadership traits but an engaging leader is becoming more prevalent particularly in ensuring to accomplish task through employees and involved employee in. Can you recall the best leader you came across in your life? Was the leader engaging and uplift you and your career in the organization?

Start to Lead!


The 3 Pillars of Employee Engagement

The 3 Pillars of Employee Engagement

Engaging talents has always been a daunting task.

The top two challenges in engaging employees are: working with multiple different generations under one roof, and employees wanting fast-tracked career progression. Employee engagement leads organizations towards higher productivity, business success and numbers of delighted customers. But how many of us hit this right to the core?

Engaging employees is definitely a topic of concern among talents, which strongly ties to talent retention. Engaged employees have a great sense of ownership towards the organization, are most likely to stay longer than the rest, and contribute immensely to the organization, laying the path to high customer satisfaction as well as repetitive new businesses. Failure to fulfill this dissatisfies talents to certain extents, and leads them to the company exit door. Establishing a stronger brand name, combined with employee engagement initiatives obviously helps in retention.


Engaged employees have the added benefit of becoming your brand ambassadors. Invest in them.

Engagement also determines to what extent employees are willing to go beyond at their work, and what drives them to do so. Being a rationally committed employee to the organization makes one feel connected, and an employee will strongly believe in staying only if this is in their self-interest. I wouldn’t want to rule out emotional commitment in which employees believe in, and loves to be part of the organization for various reasons with a stronger “Sense of Belonging” to the organization.  In your organization, is there an emotional attachment or detachment among employees and the organization?

Categorizing the engagement efforts and linking it with organization strategy and vision can be a first step to success of engaging employees.  To start off, it is good to consider both long term and quick wins as well as key objectives of engagement initiatives followed by structuring the talent engagement pillars. Do not let the engagement efforts hang separately.

short-long-termAlign your long, and short-term goals for engagement.



3 pillars of engagement – Prakash Santhanam / Credit: “101 ways to engage your talents” book

Pillar 1: Communication

Bringing employees together by sharing information and being transparent removes communication barriers in the organization. Engagement efforts within this pillar aims to create crystal-clear information flows, be it top-down or bottom-up. I have personally experienced major communication breakdowns that stems with a vacuum at the mid-level management – key information does not reach all employees.

This is also closely linked with the core values of the organization on how communication is being practiced and managed. Combining both the traditional and modern ways of communicating, the core objective is to emphasize on the transparency and openness of the organization with the employees.


As a leader, your ability to instill trust is directly correlated with your willingness to be transparent with your employees.

Putting the right message across to all employees determines the success of this pillar. Information sharing is essential, and it has to be initiated by the superiors in the organization as a culture. Who should be spearheading and championing this, the communication department, management team, or managers?


Pillar 2: Motivation

Highly motivated employees are likely to perform better and stay more engaged than the rest. Whose role is it to motivate employees? Motivation can be fueled intrinsically or extrinsically. This pillar emphasizes on being a role model and creating positive sparks, along with engaging thoughts among employees. Exploring and understanding employees‘ motivating factors, and customizing it to their needs significantly supports the framework of the engagement model. How can we identify what motivates talents as it differs by cultures and countries? I was once asked by the General Manager to reward the best attendee to eliminate tardiness, yet how many of us agree on this? Is there one formula to motivate, or are multiple channels and efforts required? Go beyond monetary.


Having a comprehensive benefits plan serves to motivate employees beyond simple monetary terms.



Pillar 3: Recreation & Bonding

Bond” is the magic word that brings employees and teams closer. An easy way of getting this done is to organize recreational and bonding activities such as team building, and integrating a simple mobile application that can be engaging and rewarding for them. An engaging activity strengthens relationships among the workforce, and indirectly helps in managing teams and performance. How much emphasis should an organization place on this? Is there a strong belief and awareness to champion this? How do we know that existing recreational and bonding activities are sufficient, or if a more innovative approach is required – especially to cater to the new generation’s needs at the workplace?


Team building – encourage bonding among colleagues in fun and engaging ways!


In a nutshell – identify, classify, and build upon these 3 pillars, and ensure you have success measures on every engagement initiative, alongside ensuring they are being tied up with the team and organizational KPIs.

Click here to view my e-book on “101 Ways to Engage Your Talents.”

About Prakash Santhanam

Prakash Santhanam is an experienced Talent Management practitioner specializing in Learning & Capability Management, Executive Coaching, Talent Engagement and Performance Management. He has remarkableinternational track record, aligning business strategy with talent strategy in reshaping organization leading towards regional and global success. He possesses 15 years of professional experience predominantly in the automotive, information technology and telecommunication industries across Asia Pacific and Africa. He is also the author to the book “101 Ways to Engage Your Talents“. 



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