#Asia How do you deal with millennials in Asia’s startup workplace?


Akiko Naka, CEO of Wantedly.

Akiko Naka, CEO of Wantedly.

Millennials are a unique generation. Born right around the emergence of a digital era (late 1980s-early 1990s), Generation-Y is currently taking over the workplace.

Millennials no longer abide by rules and social cues set by previous generations. This puzzles companies, especially ones based in Asia with its stricter, more top-down codes of conduct.

So how do human resources managers solve this generation gap problem? How can companies help working millennials find and use their true potential?

Purpose and motivation

The older generations wake up and go to work every day because of money – a tangible form of reimbursement. According to Akiko Naka, CEO of human resources platform Wantedly, this isn’t the case for millennials. She was interviewed by Tech in Asia’s Osman Husain, at TIA Jakarta 2016.

“Millennials look for trust, empowerment, and job satisfaction,”said Akiko, “Generation-Y wants jobs that gives them ability to flexibly determine their career path, master their specific set of skills at the right difficulty, and ultimately – one they believe can change the state they live in.”

“Millennials look for trust, empowerment, and job satisfaction.”

Because millennials value these three factors above everything else, they are much less prone to blindly following orders given by a superior – a common case for managers in Asia. Akiko noted that to prevent miscommunication, managers need to refrain from micromanaging and instill employees with a sense of purpose tailored to their strengths, while giving them room to improvise on coming up with innovative solutions.

For example, when a startup wants to motivate a millennial marketing executive to increase KPI, the manager has to extensively explain how important the KPI is to the company and how the millennial plays an important role in marketing to increase performance numbers, Akiko said.

Loyalty wrapped in transparency

Although companies value commitment and employees who stay with them for the long term, millennials have the tendency to leave the company by the time they learned all they can in their jobs, Akiko explained.

“The baby boomer generation [people born in the 1960s to early 70s] created this company culture and ultimately live by their words as they refuse to retire until today, even though there are endless amounts of Generation-X workers [late 70s to early 80s] ready to take their place.”


Akiko interviewed by Osman Husain in TIA Jakarta 2016.

She explained how this previous generational conflict created a domino effect of distrust among millennials, causing them to demand more transparency from their employers. Once millennials don’t believe in the same purpose as the company they work for, they tend to drop everything and leave.

In order to keep millennials’ trust, Akiko says it is best to provide a thorough explanation for them to figure out the company’s future plans and goals. If it doesn’t work out, managers need to pull the plug and do it quick.

How entrepreneurship disrupts millennial hiring

According to Akiko, startups suit millennial tastes because they focus on a limited portfolio of products and solve small problems, compared to corporates with their larger, convoluted structures.

“The talented first tier of college-graduated millennials end up building their own startup company; ones who follow tend to work for these startups. This is disrupting the large corporation hiring system,” she said.

She predicted that the case will be more extreme with centennials (Generation-Z, born in the late 1990s-early 2000s), as they possess more individualistic traits due to their deep immersion in technology, thus making them natural entrepreneurs.

This is part of the coverage of Tech in Asia Jakarta 2016, our conference taking place on November 16 and 17.

This post How do you deal with millennials in Asia’s startup workplace? appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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