IndustryLeadership & Management

Shaping Millenials as Agents of Inclusive Culture

By Vishal Pratapwant, Head – Engineering and Transformation, Fiserv Global Services and Executive Sponsor - YoPro

Young people have been at the fulcrum of growth and development across geographies. This holds true for this demographic across all walks of life, making it our individual and collective responsibility to give wings to their dreams, prepare them for the future and learn from them.

Corporates play a significant role in shaping the future of today’s youth. In a world of rapid change, dynamic business environments, increasing need for innovation, differentiation, and evolving technology, young professionals today, require not only adequate skills, but the right mix of skills and experience to succeed. They are not only bringing with them massive potential but are also steering in a new culture based on their experiences, unique perspectives, aspirations, and expectations from the workplace and work.

Driving An Inclusive Culture

Young professionals are transforming the world of work and positively influencing business outcomes, considering they represent a large percentage of our workforce. An organization’s ability to drive inclusion for this group will be key in understanding generational differences. Starting right from information consumption patterns to working ways, to goals and aspirations, a lot is different. A work environment that is welcoming, accepting, and encouraging of their originality – one in which associates feel confident to express their views and have a sense of belonging – will go a long way. This alone develops trust.

Employee resource groups can be an effective strategic enabler. YoPro (Young Professionals’ Resource Group) at Fiserv seeks to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment by connecting, engaging, and fueling the growth and development of associates in the early stages of their careers. The intent is to impact innovation, collaboration, and exceptional business results, while providing career development, mentorship, networking, and community service opportunities for our future professionals and leaders.

Develop Emerging Leaders

What I have learned is to never underestimate the capability or ability of this group to absorb information. Exposing young talent to all aspects of the business early has many benefits including providing a holistic view of the organization and how their role aligns. It is important that the values, strategies, and goals of an organization connect with the preferences of young people. Articulating their role in the success of the business will only help step up their commitment in the long term.

This young workforce needs adequate platforms to be thoughtfully productive and engaged. What I believe works tremendously well is platforms to collaborate with diverse groups, ideally across geographies, to solve problems, exchange ideas, and develop innovative solutions.

At Fiserv, our ‘Technology Analyst Program’ (TAP) is an initiative that brings on board fresh talent from the best engineering institutes in the country. It is focused on strengthening the technology talent pipeline and building a more agile and diverse workforce that is up to speed with the industry in which we operate. As part of this program, associates can access a globally conducted orientation, customized business training, and mentoring, becoming part of multiple touchpoints with leaders and segment experts to grow into the leaders of tomorrow.

Flexibility to Learn. Grow. Explore.

Technology has brought the world to our doorstep, which brings me to a model built on the principles of flexibility to learn, grow and explore. This digitally savvy audience looks at nugget-sized information or knowledge or learning capsules to stay ahead. Online learning initiatives offering options to advance skills in multiple fields not only help build a readily available skilled workforce, but they also provide an opportunity for our young learners to accomplish personal career aspirations. Apart from tech skills, skills such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, agility, financials, flexibility, and program management, will become even more crucial for future generations.

Growing in their roles or scope of deliverables is important – here techniques such as job shadowing and mentoring are of the utmost importance, as fresh talent understands business nuances best with hands-on experience where they can apply their breadth of skills and knowledge to changing demands. This is also a great opportunity for reverse mentoring, through which existing leaders can learn from young professionals.

An organization focused on talent will support individuals in identifying ways to enhance skills and acquire the knowledge needed to take on expanded responsibilities or new roles. An example is our internal talent mobility program, ‘Find Your Next’, an enterprise framework to ensure that our talented associates can learn, grow, explore different roles and advance in their careers.

Engaging Workplace Experiences

The workplace experience delivered through the associates’ life cycle could arguably be the single most important aspect to keep young professionals engaged. We have seen a considerable shift in employee expectation, with work-life balance, holistic wellbeing, community contributions, empathy, strong culture and values, growth, and learning opportunities, taking centre stage.

Opportunities to experiment, fail or succeed truly drive innovation. Celebrating achievements is a given while making failing acceptable and input for learning is an important cultural attribute.

With digital transformation being the need of the hour across every industry, digitally-enabled tools and tech should not be restricted to a section of employees, but rather open for all. Innovation comes from people and providing the right ecosystem to fuel it is imperative. Platforms that infuse the exchange of ideas, crowdsourcing, hackathons to solve business and client problems, innovation programs, and curated innovation journeys are key tools that drive productivity and engagement.

Passion, expertise, and youth will lead the way. The entry of young and talented professionals into the workforce comes with a passion to learn, be financially independent and develop expertise. Organizations and leaders must come together to foster an environment of teamwork and inspiring culture for these young professionals to unlock their potential.

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