Illusive or Elusive? Corporate Strategy in the Millennial Age

Feb 27, 2019
“Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.”  - Hubspot Research

Millennial stakeholders are, pardon the cliché, a bundle of contradictions, whether as consumers or employees. They have perhaps every reason to be; they are simultaneously the most educated and the most underemployed generation in history. They are the epitome of social vanity and social innovation at the same time. They have inherited the world as we know it today, and have responded with artificial intelligence development at unprecedented rates.

Traditional business and organizational strategy don’t always find the much-needed gravity in their universe and, as a consequence, turn to disintegrated stardust. Strategies like one-way business communication have had their day in the sun, and have steadily been relegated to their rightful place in oblivion. Feedback loops and social causes are some of the key drivers of this motley crew of geniuses, innovators, dreamers and decadent ones. But as internal stakeholders, what really drives them towards excellence? Every business leader probably spends hours in contemplation and anxious meetings sifting through ideas on how this incredibly powerful group of innovators and potential thinkers can steer their teams and departments through the ever-changing waves of the current global economy.

Maximizing value on human capital ROI is a function of understanding the millennial psyche and aligning the nuances of business strategy accordingly. It’s a foregone conclusion that the alignment of a modern workplace for millennials requires a change in paradigms, but it also warrants a closer look at the key drivers of productivity and loyalty in a millennial workforce.

FLEXIBILITY – If this word isn’t in your hiring repertoire, you’re not appealing to the millennial talent pool. Flexibility is almost as important as compensation for the modern millennial; in fact, more so. Telecommuting and online cloud based business operation platforms, supported by the power of ERPs, are mandatory requirements for the modern enterprise. Flexible working hours, adequate paid leaves and work-from-anywhere will not only attracts the crème de la crème of millennial talent, it also spurs them to go out of their way.

CULTURE – eats strategy for breakfast, said Drucker. But what if they were to complement, and not replace each other? That’s exactly what the millennials are hardwired to look at. Remember, they are a generation that hasn’t known life outside of smartphones and billionaire philanthropy. In fact, research has shown that millennials find the need to contribute to a cause more than their generational predecessors. They also consider a culturally diverse, technology-oriented workforce, as a key component in the attractiveness of their employer. In fact, 53% of millennials said they’d prefer losing their sense of smell over losing their digital devices. LinkedIn’s latest workplace culture report further substantiates this, with 86% of them stating that they would take a pay cut if their organizational culture were aligned to their own goals and aspirations. In fact, 43% of millennials don’t view their employment having a diverse background and therefore, are less motivated to perform beyond expectations.

METRICS – Other mission-critical facets for motivating and developing millennials are simplicity and clarity. They don’t like being marketed to, especially when, much like their predecessors, marketing is all they see around them. They love cutting the slack and getting into the employer relationship with clearly defined objectives, goals and KRAs. 44% of millennials are likely to be more engaged when their manager holds regular meetings with them. Clearly, the onus is on well-rounded and streamlined operations as aligned with their personal objectives, well defined operations and regular feedback on performance metrics.

DEVELOPMENT – The big one in business strategy for millennials. Almost 70% will stay in their current organizations if their employer offers them a clear path of development. Conversely, 70% of millennials report being dissatisfied with career opportunities presented in their current organizations. In addition to this, only 29% are engaged in their current jobs while an enormous 51% are actively looking to leave their employer within the next two years. Personal and professional development of the millennial workforce has emerged as a key retention strategy for business leaders across the world, whether in tiny startups or massive corporations.

The millennial generation is far more adept at the employment game than their predecessors. They may be the least engaged generation in history, but are also the most wired, in terms of the internet and communication devices. It is of little surprise, then, that they’ve completely changed the nature of employment and talent strategies in global business. The mantra to their business success, aptly, is “transformation”.

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