Carbon footprint, gender policies, work-life balance.. these are the issues post-millennials raise about a company they’re considering working for, and they’re willing to take a cut in salary or benefits to stick to their ethics
Mumbai’s Shruti Sethu, 26, chose her first employer on the basis of its social and ethical ethos. “For me, an organization with gender or racial biases or someone who is non-compliant with environmental norms, is a no go," she says. Throughout the multiple interview rounds with Aranca, a global research and advisory company, Sethu kept asking questions about corporate social responsibility activities, which non-profits the company is associated with and its internal policies. She also read about the company on online platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and chatted with employees to find out more about the company. What convinced her about Aranca was that the company had internal policies on reducing carbon footprint.
Generation Z, or post-millennials, those born between 1995-2015, demand more than a good salary package from prospective employers. They want to work with companies that have it all—from climate consciousness to inclusive and flexible work policies.
Data by job portal Indeed shows 61% of job seekers try to assess the social and cultural inclination of a prospective employer in some capacity while searching for jobs. “The new generation is looking for more than just money or a company’s vision," says Pratixha Narkar, head (human resources) at Aranca, who hired Sethu. She has seen a rising interest in questions related to social accountability, environmental impact and work culture from prospective employees.
THE CHOICES WE MAKE
There’s a simple reason for it. Unethical practices within the company lead to toxicity and stress, which spills over to personal life, says Ishita Goyal, 24, who works as an assistant manager at real estate firm K Raheja Corp in Mumbai. “No job is worth that," she says, adding that it’s quite important for her generation to be part of an organization that is not detrimental to society.
Goyal joined the firm in November, after studying its internal culture. Policies like six days’ leave for volunteer work, flexible work timings and work from home options, gender-neutral bathrooms, and accessibility for differently-abled convinced Goyal that her choice was right.
A recent LinkedIn study says over 40% of millennials and post-millennials consciously seek to work with companies with a purpose and call it a top priority.
“Employers have to become more empathetic not only to attract but retain the workforce," says Ruchee Anand, head (talent and learning solutions), LinkedIn India. Citing the same study, she says 77% of companies have been tweaking their policies to attract the new workforce by getting more creative, carving out new careers, and offering flexible benefits that include working remotely.
Chennai-based Rishabh Sharma, 24, has been working with PayPal since 2017. Before joining three years ago as a credit risk analyst, he interned with the digital payments platform for seven months to check the work environment. “I had other offers but I wanted an organization whose values were in line with my principles and ambitions," says Sharma, adding it was Paypal’s diversity and equal opportunity policies that convinced him.
While inclusive policies and ethical practices are attracting younger generation, many are leaving well-paying jobs because of unethical company practices.
New Delhi’s Abhishek Saxena, 31, quit an e-commerce firm he was interning with for over a year because he felt all the company wanted was profit. “There was no thought to labour rights or carbon footprint," he says. While at work, Saxena observed how logistics routes were created without carbon footprint in mind and how blue-collar workers were exploited. Internally, he observed rampant gender discrimination, especially for young women who were asked if they had plans to start a family soon and not given promotions because they refused to work on weekends or do night shifts. “Awareness about these issues is much needed," he says.
Ways of retaining and attracting talent include not only inclusive policies but also structures that allow employees freedom, flexibility and ownership of the work they’re doing. Data from the Indeed survey shows that a majority of job seekers consider flexibility a key aspect of their job: 83% want remote-working options available to them. With the necessity of social distancing in today’s time, this has become an essential for employees.
Delhi’s Harshita Gupta, 21, left her last job within three months because of a work culture that didn’t allow her any freedom. “At my last startup, the management was not open to feedback and hence made the environment pretty toxic, affecting my mental health and confidence," she says.
Gupta was clear on what she wanted in her next gig: creativity, flexible work hours, open-door work culture and constant learning. After scoping out a few companies, she accepted a job at TrulyMadly, a dating app, after an interview with the founder. “The founder discussed my ideas, gave me constructive feedback and proper reasoning on things. His receptiveness to new ideas and feedback convinced me," says Gupta, who has been at the firm for 18 months.
A company’s core values and ethical stance are important to today’s young workforce, insists Sharma. “I want to be proud of the work I do and hope it contributes to society in some way," he says. “We (Gen Z) are not only looking for passion in our work, but also a way with which we can build societies around us through the companies we work with." Write to us at email@example.com
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