Start-ups: Avenues of Exponential Learning & Accelerated Career Growth

By Paritosh Shukla, Global HR Head - VOD, Vuclip .
Start-ups: Avenues of Exponential Learning & Accelerated Career Growth

One often associates Mondays with waking up groggy after hitting the snooze button of the alarm clock multiple times to steal a few extra minutes of sleep and enjoy the comfort of bed. The very term 'Monday morning blues' was coined to signify the switch back into 'work mode'.

We in the HR domain attribute a lot of importance to 'perception'. Much like the oft cited example of glass half empty or half full, it really depends on how one perceives the week ahead - whether we see it as five days of having to run against the clock and complete arduous tasks or five days of proving our mettle by surmounting challenges, meeting work related goals and creating value. While the former perpetuates the blues, the latter not only provides an adrenalin rush, but also instills a sense of purpose and self-worth.

"Today’s millennials give far more importance to their learning, exposure, levels of responsibility they have and company culture than previous generations."

Today millennials give far more importance to their learning, exposure, levels of responsibility they have and company culture than previous generations. It's an imperative for HR practitioners across business organizations the world over to build millennial friendly organizations.

The Changing Face of India's Workforce

Times have changed and so has today's workforce. According to the Economic Survey of India (2013-14), India will become the youngest country in the world by 2021, with 64 percent of its population comprising millennials belonging to Generation Y and in the working age group of 20-35 for whom digital is a way of life. While the workforce of the previous generation found comfort in a regular routine, for millennials, a routine saps the excitement associated with work and gradually gnaws away at their motivation levels.

This is a generation that detests processes and yearns for personalized appreciation and recognition for the work they do, along with flexibility and the opportunity to create meaningful impact. A '9 AM to 5 PM' job is nearing extinction with this generation's readiness to work 24x7, for they perceive work that they do as more of a 'passion' than a job.

The War for Recruiting & Retaining Talent

Allegiance, however, isn't one of the traits that millennials are known for. According to the India findings of the Deloitte's fifth annual Millennial Survey released in February this year, businesses risk losing a large percentage of their millennial workforce to quick attrition. 52 percent of millennials surveyed in India said, given the choice, they expected to leave their current employers within the next two years. That figure increased to 76 percent when the timeframe was extended to 2020. This underscores the importance of implementing innovative HR policies to keep them engaged.

On the recruitment front, too many companies are chasing a small pool of employable talent. According to Aspiring Minds National Employability Report, only 20 percent of the 150,000 engineering students who graduated in 2015 from over 650 colleges were considered employable by recruiting companies. While millennials increasingly tap into online job portals for employment, companies rely on employee referrals as their top choice for finding talent, indicating how a majority of companies are not in sync with their prospective employees.

New Age Tech Start-ups: Magnetizing Today's Talent

The proliferation of start-ups in India, with a preponderance of those catering to a digital economy, has magnetized the interest of these millennials making them career destinations of choice. They are also attracting seasoned professionals from large corporations who are leaving their lucrative jobs and making a beeline for new age digital ventures.

While the perks of flexible work hours, informal attire and a chilled out work environment of beanbags and football or table tennis tables don't hurt, there are other key factors:

Learning: Start-ups are epicenters of knowledge osmosis and learning on the fly. You don multiple hats and get to engage with intelligent and creative colleagues. The ease of accessibility of the founder/s and having to stay 'au currant' with ever evolving technologies also provide opportunities of steepening one's learning curve. Bottom line: The prospect of learning something new every day leaves no scope for monotony of a routine.

Impact: Start-ups are all about doing cutting edge work, challenging status quo and creating an impact. They are more 'hands-on' and journey from ideation to impact, giving you the much needed adrenalin rush. This results in work with greater meaning.

'Fun'gagement: Start-ups offer a collaborative and participative organizational culture, where you are valued for the ideas and skillsets you bring to the table and where innovation through constant improvement is a way of life. Be it pitching for new business or working through many attempts to come up with a perfect product prototype, the joy that you experience is collective.

New age careers in the video on demand (VOD), Internet of Things (IoT) and Social Mobility Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) spaces are taking off in India, thanks to the smartphone revolution, enabling organizations to tap into business opportunities like never before. Backed by policy initiatives such as 'Start-up India', we are the fastest growing start-up ecosystems in the world and the third largest for technology driven start-ups behind the U.S. and UK.

So, if you want to learn and grow, join a start-up. Fan your passion and beat the Monday morning blues.