Aug 06, 2013

    Younger workers, stay the course

    What younger workers, such as those from generations Y and Z, need is to be committed to the work they take on, said Mr Dhirendra Shantilal, a veteran with 30 years' experience in the human-resource and recruitment industry.

    Gen Y refers to people born between 1977 and 1999, while Gen Z are those born between 1995 and 2002, or from 2000 onwards. Older workers born between 1946 and 1963 are known as the Baby Boomers.

    My Paper caught up with Mr Shantilal, head for Asia-Pacific at recruitment-services firm Fircroft, on young employees.

    What are some issues that may arise from having Gen Y and Z workers in the workplace?

    The difference between Gen Y and Baby Boomers is that it is all about project work (for the former).

    They need to see outcomes, and they need to see them far faster than a Baby Boomer.

    Gen Z is more plugged into mobile online devices, even more so than Gen Y. They would rather share feedback on social-media platforms than talk to their immediate supervisor or boss.

    (The) predilection for speed and immediate gratification can present a challenge for employers who can't provide the opportunities for promotions or rewards fast enough for Gen Z employees.

    What initiatives should organisations have, or plan to have, for Gen Y and Z workers?

    As with every generation, HR policies should be flexible, catering to the employee's particular needs and stage in life.

    A lot of people say that Gen Y likes to change jobs, and I totally agree. But it's not about changing companies. What companies need to do is make sure that there is rotational work for Gen Y.

    You can keep Gen Y in the company, but not in the same function for a long time.

    What can younger workers do to impress their employers?

    Be themselves. I do not think it is about impressing employers, I think what they need to do is to be very committed to the work that they take on.

    Members of the younger generation need to have patience, not think that they know it all and need to be able to say that they do not know something, and need more face-to-face connection with people in the company.

    What incentives can motivate workers to stay on while attaining high work satisfaction?

    What companies need is to design HR policies that are not fixed, (but) flexible for the workforce they have.

    Take, for example, a flexi-benefit programme. Instead of saying they are going to allocate so many dollars for everyone in the company, they could say there is a pot of money which can be used for yoga classes, gym classes care.

    To a younger generation, this would be more attractive than saying "health benefits".