At a recent Raizcorp presentation at Henley Business School Africa, Ronen Aires, CEO and founder of Student Village, discussed the topic of Millennials or as he describes them, Afrillennials.
Mr Aires founded Student Village to create a bridge between students and businesses. Through this endeavour he says he has learnt much about the Afrillennial generation, much of which is important for business leaders to grasp to successfully grow Millennials as employees.
“Their career aspirations, needs, attitudes and knowledge of new technologies will define the culture of our workplace and our work environment for years to come,” he says.
There are certain characteristics that most Afrillennials possess. Many are opposed to the traditional or ‘normal’ way of work. They require regular feedback, flexibility in their work life and want tasks that challenge them.
“Most Afrillennials dream that their success will progress at a faster pace and want to leave a legacy. Making progress at a slower pace than expected can often lead to them feeling disheartened in their work lives when they realise that the world-of-work does not always cater to their needs,” he says.
“Most Afrillennials want a good salary, travel, a challenge, to assist their community and to work smarter and not harder, but without the risks. When they are bored they are a flight risk. Therefore, businesses need to improve their communication and feedback with Afrillennials so as to understand why they are doing a task and how it is part of a bigger picture.”
“Businesses also need to understand that Afrillennials understand each other. They are the future of our corporate world and it is inevitable that they will change the way businesses work. We need to embrace this change and not fight it,” says Mr Aires.
“As a leader in your organisation, you need to guide, nurture, elevate and enable your Afrillennials to unlock their true potential. They are afraid of mindless conformity, thus we need to allow them to express themselves to avoid them becoming despondent and unengaged.”
“They aren’t wrong, they are just different. In business, we need to teach them to be more resilient, and empower and mentor them to reach their full potential,” he says.
Jon Foster-Pedley, dean of Henley Business School Africa, says Afrillennials are the future of business schools. “Henley Africa is moving in that direction with increased focus on creativity and self-expression in our MBA and executive education programmes.”
“Most talented young workers entering business now value things like the ethics and the vision of their employers as much as their paycheck. It’s not enough to earn well any more. They want to feel like they are having a positive, creative impact in their work environment.”
“A good business school should be challenging the foundation of what we believe business is in order to create something different that adds value for the future. Business education is far more than focusing on the institution of business. It is about doing good work, solving big problems, being accountable, honest, thinking intelligently and working together.”
“If we develop a generation of people who are skilled, able to take their place in international companies who are technologically enabled and whose minds are educated towards the extraordinary potential that they often have, then we will build the organisations and new ventures that will build South Africa, Africa and beyond,” says Mr Foster-Pedley.