Celebrated evolutionary biologist, Dr Richard Dawkins often says, “The Why questions are just silly!” He was referring to how people ask, ‘Why does life exist?’ to not fully believe in science. Millennials, however, love asking ‘Why?’ Not in relation to belief, but to the work they get involved in. The ‘Why’ of doing something is greater than the ‘What’ and ‘How’ of it.
Not surprisingly, Millennials are emerging to be one of the most empathetic and emotionally mature generations of our time. They want their work to count, and make a difference.
Startups are purpose driven. Their founders and core team members are passionate about solving complex real-world problems with innovative solutions.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the billionaire entrepreneur once famously said, “Entrepreneurship is about being able to face failure, manage failure and succeed after failing”. Millennials have a heightened take on risk taking, when compared to Gen X or Baby Boomers.
Startups celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship, risk taking and value creation. Imagine the adrenaline rush after a bungee jump or building something that’s a game changer in the way things are done. Life is too short to not take risks and leave an impact.
One can succeed only by facing failure, and Millennials like to learn and move on swiftly. They try different approaches till they achieve the secret sauce. ‘Let’s fall seven times but stand up eight times,’ seems to be their mantra.
Startups have a high threshold for experimentation and failure tolerance. Each week in Bangalore, parties are held to celebrate folks who stand in front of strangers and friends to talk about their failures for the week.
Gender stereotypes have cracked
Millennials have inherited a have-it-all ethos to life. No longer does gender define a person’s destiny or behaviour. A woman can be the boss, excel at STEM, raise a family or remain single and choose to live on her own terms. She can have it all.
Millennials aren’t too hung up on the traditional gender bias at work. They are neutral at the workplace. Any gender, which aspires to succeed, creates its own priorities and can achieve them with aplomb.
Startups support this mindset and provide autonomy and empowerment through the vision, integration with like-minded people, technology and equality of roles. Contribution matters, not gender.
Millennials respect talent more than the position. They are curious, full of ideas and respect smart solutions.
Startups are non-hierarchical and break the boundaries of conventional corporate structures. They value talent and ownership, no matter where or who in the organisation these competencies come from. This calls for leaving biases and egos at home.
Therefore, the one thing Millennials hold dear to their hearts and forms the core of their culture, is Respect.
Millennials can learn – unlearn – relearn – reboot to keep up with the fast-paced changes and disruption all around us.
Startups reboot and reinvent themselves constantly to keep growing. A learning culture and having disruptive talent is the way to innovation, and being the first to market and thrive in the business.
Millennials will make up nearly half (46 per cent) of the workforce by 2020. By 2025, 75 per cent of the global workforce will comprise Millennials. Many startups have reported that Millennials already make up over two-thirds of their workforce.
On the online front, social media, coupled with access to information/resources has led to a super connected world. Offline, however, given greater work-life integration and more time at the workplace, Millennials consider co-workers as a second family.
Tribe and vibe
Millennials have their lingo, a familial feeling of brotherhood (bro) and sisterhood (dude) that fosters bonds.
Startups have their own language. Rituals are taken very seriously, be it smashing cake on the face on birthdays or office picnics. Startups provide a Swag-wala vibe which not every corporate can call as its unique culture.
These are key reasons why one out of three Millennials pick startups over corporate culture. As they grow older, they will shape the work culture of the future and pave the way for doing things differently, by continually asking the ‘Why’ questions.