Let Your Millennials Shine

27 July 2018

In our last article, we delved into the rising trend of the gig economy and how it can be beneficial to a company and facilitates its growth. In this article, we look into the Generation Y (also known as the Millennial Generation, or the Millennials), the generation that plays a vital role in the gig economy. 

Amongst the other generations, Millennials are more susceptible to the gig economy as they are willing to face the instability of not having a permanent job in exchange for flexibility, ownership of being their own boss, having the freedom to plan and prioritise their own schedule between work, family, and other commitments. 

Due to the ongoing global economic changes, most companies (if not all) over the last 3-5 years would have initiated projects that relate to transformation, change management, automation, outsourcing, and/or technology advancement, or similar.  It is inevitable that companies would be required to involve Millennials, not only because they are starting to become a major part of the workforce, but companies would also require their newly emerged skills, borderless knowledge and innovative mindsets in the current and upcoming transformation and technology advancement projects. 

So, how can you make your Millennials “SHINE” in today's business world?

1.  Attracting and Retaining Millennials in the Company

Based on our observations and experiences in servicing our clients over the last decade, there are two categories of companies or industries that are facing difficulties in recruiting and retaining talents to meet with their ongoing workforce and project resourcing needs. They are the financial institutions and traditional companies originating from family businesses. 

The financial services industry has been struggling with a headcount freeze over the last decade. As more projects are opening up, financial institutions have been looking into the hiring contingent workers and/or contractors to help them satisfy their short-to-medium term resourcing needs during projects.

On the other hand, traditional companies (despite of its sizeable operations) are finding it difficult to attract Millennials to join their workforce as these companies are often being associated with an image of having an old-school management, deep set processes, and an inaccessible hierarchy. These will potentially create an undesirable impression and deter the Millennials from applying for jobs in these companies. Further, Millennials may have concerns over the potential culture gap, as they often seek to work in a friendly and flexible working environment where they can make an impact. 

In order for companies to make themselves more attractive to the Millennials, they should consider reviewing the three major aspects of the “Business Operation” triangle: Processes, Systems, and People.


PROCESSES: For the purpose of increasing work efficiency and productivity, companies would have to streamline their processes and automate them as much as possible. They can consider either i) automating their manual, routine and repetitive processes by acquiring relevant systems and transforming resources; OR ii) outsourcing the entire process to an entrusted business partner that are able to provide them with an all-in-one solution from service, compliance to systems.

SYSTEMS: With the ongoing trend of digitalisation and automation, companies should consider automation as much as possible. In order to cater for ongoing business changes and market demands, companies are required to continuously upgrade their systems and IT infrastructures to enhance their work efficiencies, effectiveness and compliance levels. These are worthwhile investments to make, not only for the purpose of remaining competitive, but become and appear to be more appealing in the market and becoming industrial leaders.

PEOPLE: With the improved processes and systems, the existing workforce can be transformed and upgraded to perform more meaningful and value adding tasks/work that are beneficial to the company at a strategic level and in the long run. People’s skills and exposures are also elevated to another level, providing them with more self-satisfaction and fulfillment. 

Out of the three aspects, "People" is the most crucial element. Without the right people, a company will not be able to identify and make changes, be sustainable through maintenance and make continuous improvements, as well as satisfying the forever changing compliance requirements. Companies should also assess whether the current hiring model is effective and if the existing workforce has sufficient skillsets and experiences to handle the foreseeable changes and challenges. If the current hiring model is less than effective, they should consider adopting a more flexible and agile hiring model with the aim to attract a greater pool of talents in joining their company. A possible solution would be to engage experienced resources in the Gig Economy (known as "giggers").  These are the talents and resources (including Millennials) with relevant work/industry backgrounds that are ready to contribute their experiences to help on projects and operations in a short-to-medium term basis.

2.  Inspire and Empower the Millennials in the Multi-Generational Team

One of the most apparent characteristics that Millennials possess is their craving for a sense of fulfilment and achievement at work. Management should share the company’s vision with the millennial workforce to induce their awareness of what the company is aiming to achieve and what they are doing to make a difference.  More importantly, the older generations (ie Baby Boomers and Generation X) are required to adjust their mindsets to one that empowers and provides opportunities for the Millennials, allowing them to grow, shine and contribute innovative ideas, as well as make good use of their tech-savvy-ness. 

Millennials are not interested to work on menial and repetitive tasks. Therefore companies should instead make good use of their millennial employees by utilising their newly emerged skills, borderless knowledge and innovation in transformation and technology related projects. This will not only help the company to stay competitive in the industry or market but also provide the Millennials with a sense of achievement, which in turn encourage them to continue to make contributions to the company. 

The older generations play a very important role in a company. They are the ones with the experiences and have survived through many economic and business cycles. Their role is to help manage the projects, acting as mentors in grooming and empowering the Millennials. 

The Millennials brings in vitality and new breakthroughs to the company, as well as contributes newly emerged skills, innovation and creativities. The older generations contributes valuable knowledge and experiences that they have accumulated over the years to help the company prevent and overcome hurdles, as well as any difficulties that the team may potentially face in project planning and execution.

With this multigenerational team mix, companies will be able to gain maximum benefits from the contributions of the different generations in the workforce.  Seasoned professionals and experienced employees should not be frightened to work with, or concerned about being replaced or taken over by, the younger generations. They should strive to blend in and work cohesively with the millennial workforce so as to help the company to foster an effective plan for succession.  This arrangement gives room for the multi-generational workforce to collaborate cohesively in ways which will allow all to find meaning and fulfillment. 


Conclusion and Summary:

To let your millennials shine, it is essential for you to:

i. Understand the values that define them (eg  work-life balance, community involvement, self-development);

ii. Create a workplace that attracts and engages them (eg  flexible and remote work, tech-savvy tools);

iii. Assign work that bring fulfillment and empowerment; and

iv. Most importantly, start adopting an open mind for changes.


What is BDO's Professional Services Solution (PRS)? How can PRS help companies bridge their talent and resourcing gaps?

PRS serves as a quality, secured, and popular talent mall that allows experienced candidates/talents ("giggers") to park their employment with us. Many of which are looking for non-permanent roles in the market that provides them with flexibilities and exposures to different work and project opportunities. PRS also serves as a place where hiring companies can find a roster of good quality professional resources and talents to hire on a short-to-medium term basis for projects, backfills and other ad-hoc resourcing needs.

In order to service both the supply side (giggers) and demand side (employers) of the economy, BDO PRS acts as a "Consultative Match-Maker" to help identify the right talents to be deployed onto the clients’ project. During the match making process, we will consider a number of aspects, including the clients’ challenges and issues, service requirements, as well as consider whether the consultant/candidate can culturally fit well into the company and the relevant teams. 

Sometimes situations may not be that straightforward and we may need to deploy candidates with different caliber and skill sets at different point of time of the client’s project. This showcases BDO PRS’ strength and ability to satisfy our clients’ all rounded business needs through our consultative approach and provision of blended professional solutions.