Generation Y & The Malaysian HR Mindset (Part 2)

The Malaysian & Asian Contextual Gen-Y Perspective

Although the job-hopping, intuitive,  headstrong, independent streak of the archetypical Generation Y is extremely pervasive and compelling, which has received countless coverage in HR articles and periodicals, there is still a silver lining for the Asian & Malaysian Generation Y executive. Based on my personal experiences with Malaysian, Singaporean and Chinese Generation Y executives, they tend to display traditional concepts of loyalty and familiarity that we find in the typical Asian Culture, which is rooted in the Confucianist philosophies.

The modern Asian Gen-Y is not only very resourceful, intuitive, tech-savvy, worldly but also very grounded in their belief systems, loyalty to family and to some extent, organizations that employ them. With that said, the Malaysian Generation Y is still at heart what it is, looking for the holistic, transparent, work-life balance that is typical of their generation.

Based on the above, here are some suggested HR and Organizational Development initiatives that can be useful for retaining and engaging the Generation Y workforce.

  1. Implement and maintain a transparent talent management process where the Generation Y executive can see how their career track is headed, this is sorely lacking within our HR practices. Emphasis must also be placed on actual implementation of it and not just lip-service that is just surface buy-in. This will increase retention and loyalty of the Generation Y executive.
  2. Develop a learning and development program that will allow a learning output for the Generation Y to increase their effectiveness. Generation Y executives look for learning opportunities that can increase their personal skills, whether it might be soft or technical skills.
  3. Implement 360 degree feedback and review systems where they can adequately get feedback on their performance and also for assessment of their current skills capability and eagerness for moving forward and change. Additionally, this process can then be reversed so that the Generation Y executive can give meaningful input on how to improve their work process and scope, and to create a bond with the company, where they will feel the inclusiveness.
  4. Engage them by tapping on the above mentioned “Lost Generation” to be a bridge between all the other generational groups
  5. Culture permeates everything about an organisation and it is the same as it affect the Generation-Y workforce, an organisational culture that emphasises on all the above mentioned values such as transparency, accountability that transcends all levels, a “flat” communication style.

One particular unique case study of one of Yellowshorts Consulting’s client is Chur Associates, Chur Associates is a very unique legal firm which will celebrate their tenth year of business this year in 2013. For an organisation such as Chur Associates which resides with one of the oldest and traditional industries, they employ and retain a large majority of Generation Y legal professionals. One of the key reasons for being able to so successful in retaining their Gen-Y workforce is due to the culture they employ, a culture that has been advocated and permeated through the entire organisation by the Founding Partner, Chris Tan. With a core emphasis on the following:

  • Transparency of career paths and operational matters for all staffs (e.g. all staffs are clued into other “departments”)
  • Accountability for your work and your actions (e.g. Own up to your mistakes)
  • Taking responsibility for their own work (e.g. Taking Pride in your work)
  • Providing a comprehensive annual training and development scheme for all staff.
  • User-centricness (e.g. developing innovative products & packages for clients)

With these organisational success factors, they have been able to corner the market in the property-legal sector and more importantly, created an effective and consistent culture that will allow Chur Associates to recruit, retain and manage Generation-Y talent and perhaps even the Millenials of the near future.

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It has been said, that the only way we can engage Generation Y is to give them empowerment but it has been viewed and perceived by many Generation Y workforce that we have spoken to, as just another fluffy word used by management to create buy-ins or to placate the serious need to address these issues, with Generation-Y and all future generational cohorts that will inherit your organisations; there must be meaningful and PURPOSEFUL engagement with real long term, measurable initiatives.

For the posterity of our organisations, we need to bring everything to the table and we shall! Stay tuned!

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