For some of us, our lives are spent in the quest of the perfect partner, while for others it’s in finding the most ideal and fulfilling career. In the balance scale of life, we are constantly at a tug of war to reach equilibrium, especially amidst a new world order of endless opportunity that is only a few clicks away. For young graduates who are accustomed to having easy access to just about everything, from favourite foods, to booking a movie or class or holiday, to even finding the right partner, their next job should then be just moments away.
In a world of increased ease, instant gratification and simplicity, how can they swipe right in seconds to hit upon the ideal career? As organisations work overtime to have their cultures, workplaces and more attuned to this millennial or Gen Z mindset, they continue to struggle to recruit and retain talent. In fact, according to estimates, the average time a millennial spends in a job is 20 months. The proliferation of the gig economy, the rise of co-working spaces and the advent of startups to unicorns has further exacerbated the mundanity of a 9 to 5 desk job.
Whether its tindering or careering, for the millennial job seeker the extent of the quest is the now. How then, do you as an employer, a manager or a parent focus on today while still swiping right to their ideal career? In my experience of working with millennials on their career development, some key areas that we need to hone to strike the right kind of deal are:
Define who they are: While education institutions are focused on academic success, corporate team leaders on RoI and parents on just keeping the peace, who works with these young graduates on trying to make sense of who they are? Whether on Tinder or Naukri, the seemingly standard first question of “tell me more about you” is what needs to be made sense of in terms of their motivations, values, strengths and interests. It will enable them to dig deeper and align their purpose with their career trajectory for greater fulfillment.
Why timing is everything: In this world of instant gratification, there is a natural tendency to swipe left when anything doesn’t go according to plan. Millennials are easily disappointed, disheartened, impatient and fearless. While employers/managers/parents need to understand that, inculcating the understanding of the importance of timing is quite essential. If you are on a 20-month itch, make sure the balance scale is skewed to long-term advantage.
Earning money vs crafting a career: It’s one of the key tugs of wars when it comes to attracting and retaining the millennial jobseeker. With the appeal of the gig, balancing the millennial need for earning money today, versus crafting a career in a constantly evolving world, is the eternal challenge for firms & families. Rationalise it with the millennial jobseeker.
What makes it a winning hand: Like with dating, in the workplace, there needs to be something for everyone. Get a network of inspiring mentors or career coaches in place to work with the millennials on striking the right deal of what the employer puts on the table vs how much value they add to the organisation.
Keep it cool: It’s important to dance in the moment with the millennial jobseeker. In this disruptive world, there is little interest in the perils of the past and much more focus on the today. Make it relevant, relatable and current. They don’t need another nag after all!
(The writer is founding partner of Edpower-U, a trained executive coach, author and corporate advisor)