Indian Gen-Z: The Challenges Ahead

Indian Gen-Z Challenges

Editor’s Note
Dr. Kavita Shastri teaches Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior at Globsyn Business School – one of the best B-Schools in Kolkata. Dr. Shastri has more than 27 years of industry experience and around twenty-five years of teaching experience including academic administration. Ranking second in order of merit in her MBA, Dr. Shastri had the opportunity of teaching at prominent Business Schools of Calcutta. Besides HR specialization papers she also taught soft skills and has written many papers published in peer reviewed journals. She has written a book on Human Resource Management and another on Organizational Behavior too. In her last stint as Registrar of a College affiliated to University of Calcutta she also mentored students and conducted MDPs/Consultancy assignments in addition to routine teaching and administrative functions. Dr. Shastri is a Life Member of NIPM and National HRD Network.

India holds a substantial share of the global young workforce, with a particular emphasis on the Generation Z demographic. Effectively handling this demographic requires a nuanced approach, taking into account their unique behavioral traits and overall personalities.

Who are the Gen-Z?

  • People born between 1995 and 2012
  • Gen-Z comprises around 2 billion young people globally
  • 30% of the world’s workforce would comprise the Gen-Z population by 2030
  • Gen-Z is highly technologically savvy
  • They view ethics, purpose, flexibility, career opportunities more than compensation
  • Low attention span combined with higher levels of anxiety

Gen-Z Professionals – Companies adopting Conducive HR Practices

Many organizations in India are changing their HR practices to suit Gen Z professionals. As the world shifts to normalcy post-Covid, hybrid work culture and a better work-life balance is a must for the Gen-Zs. Starbucks provides a flexible workplace that allows its professional partners to work many days of the week. Though most roles offer hybrid or remote work some may be office dependent as mentioned in their job postings on LinkedIn.

The challenge before organizations is to attract and retain high- quality talent. Gen-Zs are highly digital savvy, a skill set that companies are earnestly looking for. Also attracting and retaining this generation is quite difficult. This generation puts high emphasis on purpose and ethics over remuneration and likes to work in hybrid mode and having work-life balance.

Am I doing something for the climate and environment? Do I include a diverse population in my workforce? How can I contribute in making a valuable impact in my organization? These are a few of the questions a Gen Z employee is asking his/her potential employer. This generation does not hesitate in not choosing an employer whose organization does not make a meaningful impact on society. Armed with new age skills which make them indispensable organizations are going all out to woo them with flexible options of working and compensation.

Companies like Hindustan Unilever, Titan, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Electricals are going all out to woo this generation with catchy and effective messaging. The LinkedIn page of Starbucks, besides highlighting its hybrid work culture, also talks about diversity, equity and inclusion, sustainability and work-life balance among other things. Organizations are finding it difficult to meet their aspirations. Therefore, companies need to immediately bring about a 360-degree shift in HR perspectives and even re-write their value propositions.

For legacy companies, embracing change has been more challenging. For instance, an 84-year-old company like Bajaj Electricals is facing a major dilemma of changing its cultural climate. As Gen-Zs are private people they want a blend of privacy and openness and that is what companies are trying to give them.

Higher Education Institutes in fostering Gen-Z

The role of higher education institutions is immense considering the implementation of New Education Policy 2020. As this generation wants the best resources in education to innovate and make an impact, their hand holding needs to be done right from the days when they transition from school to college and from college to University. It has been observed that these youngsters are showing high levels of anxiety and depression. Mental health therefore is one important area which needs attention. Universities and many Business Schools in India are implementing and developing systems of support for health, wellness and psychological services.

One such B-School is Globsyn Business School (GBS), where Gen-Z students are prepared to become industry relevant professionals. At GBS students are kept fully engaged in the learning process with an experiential learning pedagogy, which emphasizes on visual and kinaesthetic learning. Over a period of two years the students are engaged not only in academic curriculum, but also in activities that are a part of its ‘Beyond Education’ vertical. They are made a part of the learning process by getting an opportunity to have a fully immersive educational experience and they even enjoy the challenges of being a part of it.

Gen-Z has more access to information compared to their predecessors and therefore are well versed in current events, global trends.

Delicate Responsibility lies with Higher Educational Institutions

Unlike their predecessors Gen-Z asks questions and wants to remain informed of the doings of the firm. Hence the idea of work for them is not salary anymore. This generation also seeks variety in the roles they do. As long as they are given job rotations and newer roles, they stay on. Gen Z is looking for meaningful jobs and are passionate about learning hence upskilling has to be an important trait for this education-oriented cohort. As this population literally grew up on technology it has to be managed in a delicate manner considering their behavioral traits and overall personality.

Organizations, including GBS, need to work on sensitizing their stakeholders on how to talk to this generation as they have much stronger views. They do not have an option but to change. To sum it up higher educational Institutes have an important role to play in hand holding this bright, innovative and always brimming with ideas generation and serve as their beacon light.

 

 

Dr. Kavita Shastri
Faculty – HRM and Organizational Behavior
Globsyn Business School