Best Workplaces™ for Millennials in Sri Lanka
A pattern has reinforced itself with the annual publication of the Great Place to Work® List of ‘Best Workplaces for Millennials in Sri Lanka’. The 2021 results show, once again, that the largest age category in the workplace – the millennials – are also the least positive about their workplace experience. Millennials have broken away from the previous generation and are setting a high bar for the next. The publication of the ‘Best Workplaces™ for Millennials in Sri Lanka’ in 2021 sheds insights into the nuanced experience of millennials. It also explores the options to unlock the potential of this generation. Great Place to Work assessed nearly 30,000 employees from 90 organisations, resulting in the selection of 15 Best Organizations for Millennials based on positive employee perceptions (Trust Index™ Score) and the people practising implementation in the workplace (Figure 1).
The 15 Best Workplaces represent a range of economic sectors and business sizes. One third of the Best 15 is from the IT sector, highlighting the greater representation of millennials within this sector (Figure 2).
Of the 90 workplaces assessed, the average percentage of millennials was 46%, close to the global average of 50%. However, the individual organizational representation ranged from 15% to 83%. Of the 15 Best Workplaces, the average was 52%, ranging from 32% to 74%. Millennials were, by far, the largest group, with the other age groups having less than half this number.
In the Best 15, the millennial Trust Index© is on par with the overall organization Trust Index©, whereas the millennial perception amongst the ‘rest’ of the workplaces is 2% lower than the organization. However, the Trust Index© of millennials has dropped by 2% from the 2020 value, perhaps linked to the pandemic conditions of the past year.
KEY WORKPLACE CULTURE FOCUS AREAS
The Great Place to Work® assessment is designed to cover the main focus areas considered as essential to creating a High Trust – High Performance™ workplace culture. These are represented in Figure 5, where the Best 15 clearly outperform the ” Rest ” by an average 14 points in millennial perception across the board, with Pride having the smallest gap at only a 11% difference from the Best 15.
Further examination of sub-dimensions where the Best 15 outperform the “Rest”, show differences of up to 20 percentage points. The areas, fall into the focus areas of Fairness, Camaraderie and Credibility (Figure 6).
What are the Best 15 doing right?
Data from the 15 Best Workplaces was analysed to better understand what these organizations are doing to ensure that they build a High Trust – High Performance™ culture for their millennial employees. Corporate image, credibility and team spirit in the organization are some of the key drivers amongst the Best 15, i.e. the main areas that are highly correlated to overall positive perception (Figure 7).
Despite popular misconceptions that millennials may be capricious when it comes to organizational loyalty and longevity, it is clear that they value being able to advocate for their organizations and the ability to work there for a long time. A good working environment is also important in terms of healthy relationships with colleagues.
Further analysis highlights the areas of strengths among the Best 15. Once again, Pride and Camaraderie appear, establishing the need among millennials to feel that their job is “not just a job”. Further, they desire a sense of pride in their work, team and organization that they work for. In the Best 15, millennials also strongly believe that they have access to the resources needed to accomplish their daily tasks as well as a clear direction from a credible management team.
Various studies and analyses have been done over the past couple of decades to better understand millennials and what ‘makes them tick’. A general consensus focuses on meaning, flexibility and a challenge, as key job requirements amongst millennials. Relevant statements from the survey that address these areas show that there are significant differences in millennial perception, with up to a 17 percentage point difference in areas concerning flexibility. These give a clear indication of areas that other organizations can focus on to ensure they are meeting the expectations of their millennial employees.
The practices implemented within an organization contributes to the employee experience and their resulting perception. The Great Place to Work® – Culture Audit™, gives insights into the practices of the organization. This provides a view of which practices are enabling positive experience through the effective implementation by their people managers. Here are some of the key practices amongst the 15 Best Workplaces, that go beyond the standard and would be addressing some millennials’ needs as mentioned above.
HIRING AND WELCOMING
- Creating awareness of the values of the organization from the very start and hiring not only for skill, but for fit with organizational values and culture.
- Implementing an employee referral scheme supports in finding likeminded individuals
- Ensuring a buddy system is employed to acclimatise new employees.
- Highlighting individuals and outstanding performances in a celebratory manner.
- Promoting the idea of co-ownership and moving away from micromanagement, giving employees the freedom to work and the feeling that it is “more than just a job”
- Regular updates from the Leadership to ensure transparency and clarity of vision and direction, including town hall meetings.
- Opportunities for departments/project teams to present their progress to create better intra-organizational understanding and awareness.
- Open communication forums and active promotion of employee input and feedback
- Opportunities for ideation and innovation, implemented in fun, exciting and collaborative forms such as gamification.
- Initiatives to recognize good performances in fun ways and showing appreciation through exceptional steps, such as providing additional personal timeout for excess time spent to achieve deadlines.
- Providing “Career Mentors”, interactive and learn-as-you-go training programmes and developing soft skills in addition to technical skills.
- Implementing Leadership programmes to upskill and train the next generation of leaders.
- Webinars/Coffee Meetup sessions to bring new and current ideas to employees regularly.
- Ensuring a work-life balance is achieved through effective coordination of workload.
- Providing flexible working hours and conditions (I.e. WFH – during non-pandemic times).
- Health-focused programmes within the organization, that also promote collaboration and active socialization outside of work-related activities.
- Funding personal education goals of employees through funding opportunities
- Providing medical insurance.
- Celebrating successes as well as failures, as learning experiences
- Providing rewards in the form of development opportunities including foreign training and secondment
- Profit-sharing in a transparent and rewarding format.
- Active engagement in CSR activities – from the design phase through implementation.
- Sustainability teams and implementation of environmentally friendly practices with the workplace – I.e. setting paperless and carbon neutral targets, reducing emissions and waste, etc
The Best Workplaces for Millennials study highlights several areas organisations need to focus on in order to address the needs of millennial employees. Naturally, as time progresses, focus will shift away from millennials and towards the next generation of new employees, the “Gen-Zers”. However, current understanding implies a heightening of the needs of millennials, rather than a completely new set of priorities, which underpins the requirement to address current needs.
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