If you conduct a survey of industry leaders around what their top ‘people problems’ are, then a large majority will concur that while hiring the right talent is the biggest issue, a close second is the challenge of retaining that same talent. Probe this a bit further, and you will learn that it basically boils down to the millennials who already occupy the single largest segment in the Indian workforce, the figure increasing with each passing year. Millennials, you will be told, come with a whole baggage of expectations. And a reputation for being distracted, insubordinate, money-minded, impulsive, arrogant, and self-centered, to the point of being narcissistic—all of which result in, amongst other things, a consistently high attrition rate across organizations.
There is this common grouse among many senior leaders in the industry: employee loyalty is fast disappearing in today’s workplace. New-age employees simply do not seem to believe in it. But rather than accept this scornfully as a fait accompli, leaders need to start asking the right questions. If there is really an employee loyalty issue with millennials, then what are the reasons for it? And what can be done by company stakeholders to address—and hopefully minimize—this problem?
One big element of the problem is our own preconceived notion of it and the benchmarks that we have come to consider as acceptable. Even at the height of the IT revolution, just over a decade ago, it was reasonable to expect that new hires, fresh out of college, would work for the company for a couple of years before starting to look out for other opportunities. With millennials, that metric simply does not hold. In the new order of things, if freshers stick around for 9 to 12 months on average, then companies should not have much cause for complaint. This new ballpark is one of the first things that, as a manager or leader, you need to come to terms with. The right talent will not stay on by default, and the onus of inducing them to have longer tenure is solely on the stakeholders of the organization.
Let us explore the factors that have led to this new metric becoming the norm.
Range of opportunities
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