Gen Y at Work

Gen Y

The denim-clad Gen Y is writing the new codes of the Indian workforce. We find out how corporate heads are gearing up to manage them.

Whether it’s vrooming away to glory in their swanky mean machines, heating up the party circuit at the hippest club, riding the ‘brandwagon’ or even widening their companionship net on cyberspace, the hedonistic, luxe-loving Gen Y swears by living life King-size. Armed with a heady combination of spunk and go-getter attitude, this ‘take-me-as-I-am’ generation (also called the millennial generation) is facing corporate challenges head-on and calling the shots in the multi-generational workplace. While Gen Y employees don’t mind saying boo to the conventional drab cubicles and windowless spaces, they want a workplace that’s like them: peppy, unique, flexible and synergetic.

The aspirations of this ‘me now’ breed have undergone a colossal transformation and they need more than a fat pay cheque to work in an organisation. The focus has extended to exercising their competence, taking on new challenges, higher responsibilities and getting instant acknowledgment for their achievements. And with their new approach to life and work, Gen Y is pushing corporations to view the world through modern lenses. So, while corporate heads across private industries are joining the dots to figure out what would get the Gen Y put in their best efforst at work, we find out what the PSU (Public Sector Units) industry has to say about all this. How Generation Y fits — or doesn’t — in the government workplace.

Branding with the best

Brand equity is one of the key factors that baits the Gen Y job seekers into zeroing in on their preferred workplace and for that there’s nothing better than getting to know the illustrious PSU companies. Kamakshi Raman, General Manager of Human Resources at Steel Authotrity of India (SAIL) feels that, apart from brand value, a PSU company gives young workers almost everything they look for in a job.

“For today’s youngsters, work should be an extension of their personal life. And a PSU job offers flexi timing, five-days-a-week schedule, where you can juggle between home and work with ease. And SAIL stands tall in all these.” Raman adds that SAIL is devising means and ways to motivate the younger lot and make things interesting for them. “We regularly organize forums, interactive meetings and different activities in an effort to keep them hooked to their jobs,” she says.

‘Perk’ ‘em up, literally!

A paradigm shift in attitudes at the workplace is the needed to hold onto young talent and progressive PSU firms are meeting the changing desires of the young workforce, says AA Naqvi, Managing Director of National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC). “Being highly informed and networked, Gen Y doesn’t mind flitting jobs until they find the right fit. Therefore, to retain them, it is important for companies to persistently work on rewriting organizational practices to accommodate the changes. We offer performance- based incentives on a regular basis and it has done wonders for our firm,” he says.

Changing perceptions

With trends changing, managing the ‘I, me, myself’ generation becomes a daunting task and it should be done discreetly, says Jaiveer Srivastava, CMD, HPL (Hindustan Prefab Limited). “Firstly, what is important is to reverse the negative perceptions Gen Y has of public sector jobs. It is important to tell them PSUs have churned out future leaders in the corporate world and paved the way for India Inc. In our organization, we train them, regularly hold counseling sessions and try our best to give them professional and personal growth opportunities,” he says.

Channeling raw energy

Gen Y wants its goals and deadlines to be well-defined and needs a challenging work environment, says Anil Johari, Executive Director (Asset Manager, Ahemedabad Asset) Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. “Their dynamic stature definitely makes them a force to reckon with and it is important to channel their raw energy into a productive one. We try to unmistakably communicate the fact that we cherish their contributions and that we would in turn provide them with a challenging work environment. This would result in making them inventive, bright and result-oriented.”

New versus old

While the PSU experts have varied perceptions about Gen Y and their attitude, what does Gen Y feel while working in a government sector? Amitabh Mitra, Senior Marketing Mangager of a reputed PSU company says, “Things in PSUs have changed for the better in the last few years and the arrival of youth in the PSU sector has certainly made the workplace a better one. Considering factors like good pay package, flexi timings, and job stability, it is nothing less than a dream job. But the problem arises mainly because the managers who manage Gen Y employees are still Gen X people (the previous generation) The working style of ours is in stark contrast with theirs. If that is managed, then everything will fall in place,” he says.