Don’t brush millennials off so easily.
Millennials may have acquired bad reputation for being the strawberry generation, but they have a few tips and tricks up their sleeves too. Here are some words of wisdom that Singaporean career women have picked up from their younger colleagues.
1. Step up
Don’t just execute your boss’ demands – become a change-maker. It could get you up the corporate ladder fast. “Senior staff are more likely to resist change, as they bank on tried-and tested experiences, but their work might stagnate over time. Chances are, employers would promote those looking to make a difference,” says Chook Yuh Yng, country manager at Jobstreet.com Singapore.
“It’s not just me instructing and them performing, but more about how we can work together to deliver results. When highlighting key risk and growth areas to clients, millennials have identified new opportunities to present data, using live infographics and other visuals,” says Lim Kexin, a tax director at PricewaterhouseCoopers Singapore.
And don’t hold back when it comes to asking about the decision-making and thought processes behind strategies. It’s what keeps ambitious millennials happy and motivated.
2. You can always learn something
Julienne Loh, a senior vice-president and group head at Mastercard Asia-Pacific, picked this up from her millennial colleagues, who persuaded her to join the company’s reverse mentoring programme, an informal initiative that encourages a junior person to mentor an older colleague. “They probably saw I could do with a bit of help on social media platforms. So I learnt to share thoughts on trends and issues, and make effective use of hashtags.”
3. Speak up
Be forthcoming about what you want out of your job. Millennials usually are, observes Lee Lingxiang, a consultant at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore.
And their demands may not even be about money but increased responsibilities. Adds Kexin: “How you feel about a current position, and how you want your career to progress, is a two-way conversation. Even good employers can’t help you plan the next step until they know what you want.”
4. Embrace feedback
Kexin picked this up from her millennial colleagues: Know what you’re working for and how it contributes to the big picture. “They appreciate constant feedback. In casual settings, they’d express interest in doing better and ask if I’m happy with their performance. I now host informal chat sessions at Starbucks, which can be used as checkpoints to identify my own blind spots as well.”
5. Give back
Be driven to create a positive impact. “The millennials I have met in the banking industry aren’t afraid of challenges and are relentless in fighting for the causes they believe in,” says Sarah O, head of loyalty and retention at Standard Chartered Bank Asean and South Asia.
6. The job scope matters, not the company name
Millennials have two priorities when it comes to their jobs: constant learning and progress. “If a less hierarchical start-up can help propel their career forward and grant them more flexibility when it comes to getting things done, they’d choose it over a Fortune 500 company,” says Lingxiang.
This article was first published in the June 2017 issue of Her World magazine.