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The Millennial Workforce: Preparing for the Gamechangers of the Digital Age

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be millennials. I have come across this statistic several times in the past few years. First published in 2011 by the Business Professional Women (BPW) Foundation, the findings ring true today. Millennials, primed to be the changemakers, are indeed the future workforce that is beginning to influence businesses worldwide. 

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The workforce in the Digital Age will consist of millennials who have never known a non-digital scenario and are therefore deeply driven by convenience, rising demand, and innovation. They are a demographic that is defined by technology, and they bring to the table mindsets shaped by the digital revolution. Are we prepared and empowered to embrace this shift? Have our corporate culture and perceptions changed in tandem? Digital transformation has, without doubt, accelerated in most organizations, making them future-ready. But do we need to reform existing digital cultures to cater to this young generation? Surely, there is a reason and a notable insight behind millennials deeply wanting to work for the likes of Google. 

Today’s Workforce

Today’s workforce is digital savvy and flexibility is their prime objective. Often called the conscious capitalists, this generation emotionally attaches to environmentally conscious brands. To win over such a talent pool would require us to pivot to a culture that respects their needs and preferences. Employee engagement and experience thus needs to go digital. While leveraging technology comes naturally to millennials, the lot also likes to connect on a human level. At the workplace, therefore, storytelling is a powerful communication tool to grab their attention. 

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I have also observed a restlessness in this generation towards the state of IT at workplaces. It frustrates them because their personal technology is far superior. Due to the anytime-anywhere experience the convergence of social, mobile, and cloud today offers, the generation is used to being connected regardless of location. A dissatisfaction with corporate systems and hierarchies is also inherent. The generation, after all, has produced child revolutionaries such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg.  

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While these frustrations are by no means unique to millennials, it is this generation that is speaking out about the challenges these present and expecting to see quick fixes. We as organization leaders must respond. Organizations, therefore, need to reset their mindset, prioritize what the future workforce values, and introduce new and improved ways of working.

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To reset the digital culture, an organization must first transform into a Live Enterprise that is flexible, location-agnostic, and highly responsive, with lucid boundaries. This is important to comprehensively understand both sentient and social needs of the future workforce, 35% of which currently consists of millennials. To stay competitive in the recruitment landscape, HR needs to embrace sophisticated tools and technologies to deliver superior and personalized candidate experiences. Leaders need to produce revised parameters, data, and insights focusing on the needs, attitudes, desires, and motivators for this generation. Studies show that millennials spend more time on social media than their GenZ counterparts. It would be worthwhile for talent acquisition teams to consider this into their strategy and tailor their experience.  

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Similarly, what will be a gamechanger in the learning and development space is the personalization of learning content based on their strengths, gaps, and passion areas. This digitally native generation is seldom awed by technology. It is a tool, meant to be leveraged. Stepping into their shoes, leverage technology as a tool to fulfil their learning needs. It could be high-quality videos with an immersive learning experience, gamification, AR/VR augmented reality, simulations, etc. Microlearning can also help the always-on-the-go generation to consume bite-sized content in minutes, rather than hours. 

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Given a highly competitive talent market, it is imperative that we mold ourselves and evolve with key millennial values and develop a culture of curiosity, communication, collaboration, flexibility, ethical judgement, and authenticity to succeed in the Digital Age. 

Kapil Jain

Kapil Jain, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sales and Enterprise Capability at Infosys BPM, is globally responsible for sales, marketing, M&A, alliances, and influencer relations. He is also the global head of enterprise capability, responsible for all enterprise services, industry solutions, and value design. As a member of the Executive Council, he also participates in the formulation and deployment of business strategy for Infosys BPM. Kapil also serves as a Director on the board of Infosys McCamish Systems, LLC, Infosys (Czech Republic) Limited s.r.o. and Supervisory Board of Stater.
Kapil has been with Infosys since 2000 and has served in a number of leadership roles in technology and operations across sales, delivery, transition, and solution design. Prior to joining Infosys, he has been with HSBC's corporate finance and advisory group and ICRA. He has more than 25 years of experience overall, 17 in India and 8 in the US.
Kapil has an MBA and MS from the Case Western Reserve University, USA, and has done his engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee.

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