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By Joan Cheong | University Engagement Lead, DBS Innovation Group

The Future World of Millennial Talents

May 17, 2016

It's now 17 May 2016. Fast forward 4 years to 2020, with 50% of the global workforce represented by the millennials - a generation of change, of impact creation, of entrepreneurs. These people will shape the world of work in future, making attracting and working them extremely critical to every business small and big.


Why do I say that they are a generation of change? Of Impact creation and entrepreneurs? A couple of assumptions I made - the way they are brought up, the evolution of nations, economy, society, politics, and most importantly technology. In time to come, entrepreneurship is not a cool, hippy phenomenon - it is the way of (work) life and business landscape.


I've been privileged to be working with 16 brilliant millennials recently in the DBS UNI.CORN programme and there've been thought provoking moments in every interaction I have with them. Resourceful, drive, borderline fearlessness in challenging and questioning, curiosity and never settling for second best are some of the traits they possessed. There are many ways to interpret how these traits can benefit your business, but I like to see them as strengths to harness and we need to be more open-minded in changing ourselves and our workflows or working etiquettes to embrace the new wave of talents.


A research by PWC on Millennials at work quotes that "They expect rapid progression, a varied and interesting career and constant feedback. In other words, millennials want a management style and corporate culture that is markedly different from anything that has gone before – one that meets their needs."


Opportunity is a currency to motivate them, not money! We can all start with small adjustments:


1) Focus on opportunities and big picture


They want to make an impact. They need to know why they are doing something and how it is contributing to the bigger picture. Purpose is important and when they can resonate with it, you will see them bulldoze ahead with you dragging them along and they will never stop before coming to a solution. Something I often mention is - Have a goal in mind, focus on getting there, but do not limit yourself to one path. Most importantly, they need to feel the ownership and responsibility they bear.


2) Guidance and mentorship


Provide guidance instead of instructions. Don't tell them what to do but give them the chance to find their way around a problem which is likely not what you would have done.


3) Constantly challenge them


Give them the opportunity to test their new skills, prove their capabilities with new challenges. Constructive feedback and appropriate motivation in the form of praise helps development - an investment of time and effort you have to make.


4) Be Flexible


It's not easy but be flexible about hours and workplace. Put your trust in them to overcome challenges throw in their path, their belief in the purpose and let them decide how they want to work.


I am learning something new everyday with the DBS UNI.CORN Interns and will be sharing more insights as the 12 weeks journey continue. Would love to get more tips and hear personal experiences, feel free to share!





I love everything to do with innovation, human-centric approach, disruptive technologies and I feel a true devotion for user experience design. My passion lies in designing solutions that touches the heart and make lives better.


Want to be the next UNI.CORN?

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