Millennials need to be clear about the “why” of it.

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Deepti is currently working with Dentsu Aegis Network which is an Advertising and Media Network and heads HR for North and OD and Talent for India. She has grappled with all aspects of HR in her 20 year career from recruitment to employee relations, to ethics and compliance to talent development. Her favorite subject in HR is Ethics, especially when it comes to Anti Sexual Harassment. She has spent most of these 20 years in the IT/ITES industry with companies like Genpact and AON and finally decided to change gears and see how things work in a different industry. That’s how she landed herself in Advertising.

How an HR can help build great teams within the organization?

An HR Professional needs to function as an enabler and not just a support function. Understanding the priorities of the business and aligning HR priorities to those is imperative. Clear understanding of the team’s strengths and opportunity areas, helps in creating the right action plan for the teams. If HR is not connected with the team members and views themeslves as an outside party, then it will lead to organization’s failure. So the only way to build a great team is to become a part of it, understand what makes the team tick, not by asking questions, but by experiencing it yourself. Learn about the pain points of the team and question the “why” behind these pain points. Observe behaviors exhibited and compare with what’s needed to succeed. Putting all this information together is what will help HR help the business.

How can you beat silo mentality at workplace?

Three reasons are responsible for Silo mentality at the workplace,

  1. The Leadership not driving the culture.
  2. Unclear goals.
  3. No understanding of the bigger picture.

If each member of the team doesn’t align himself/herself to the larger goals of the team/organization, then the vision is miopic. If I understand only what I am supposed to achieve, then I do it at my pace, my timelines, with zero empathy for the larger team and it’s members.

However, if the leaders encourages the team members to learn more about the bigger picture, communicates effectively, then every member understands how they fit into the bigger puzzle.

They understand not only their goals but also how their work impacts other’s goals and ultimately the organization’s growth. Silos are created by a limited vision and thought process, the wider the angle, the bigger the view, the more integrated the effort.

What does a millennial expect from his/her HR in 2020?

Millennials are a group of intelligent yet impatient generation. They expect everything to be backed by logic. If there’s an expectation from them, they need to be clear about the “Why” of it. Once that is clear, the effort is assured. The other thing they look for is quick and easy answers. Automated systems for query resolution where everything is available to them on their various devices opposed to walking up to and talking about their issues with someone is not their cup of tea. Self help tools are most welcome.

How do you create a buy-in for trainings at workplace?

Buy in for trainings is a great struggle. More and more businesses, especially with a larger millennial population are now looking for digital content, available on the go. An online course is way more acceptable than one that involves going to a classroom. However one can’t escape the benefits of classroom training. The other way is not to prescribe but have them subscribe. We cannot go with a one size fits all approach. So, having a calendar published year on year isn’t the most interesting for employees, however, working with the teams to understand what they are struggling with, and then offering them solutions that they can choose to subscribe to rather than it being shown as a ready made calendar is imperative. The employee needs to feel that his opinion was sought before the calendar was created.

Your personal achievements as an HR professional?

My current organization comprises of 23 different entities under one roof. All these entities have been functioning in their silos with their own cultures rather than align to a single culture. While there were many efforts made towards integration, these were not all successful. My achievement was that I created a new HR structure that was entity agnostic. This sowed the seed where it showcased to the business the possibilities of coming out of silos and working with a single purpose and structure. The evidence of the success was clear in the annual engagement survey which saw a distinct increase in scores and people emerging from their identities of just their entities to identifying themselves as employees of the larger network.

How does an HR motivate him/herself?

My motivation comes from having a clear purpose of what I do. Having a sure understanding of my personal reason behind each task that I do keeps me going.

Disclaimer: The responses to the questions are solely the views of the interviewee as a professional and do not reflect that of the Organisation he/she works for.

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