How to manage a millennial workforce

by External14 Dec 2016
In the third of a four-part LinkedIn HR Leadership series exclusive to HRD, ICANN’s VP and managing director, Jia Rong Low, drives home the need for employers to be more willing to train millennials, calling them ‘leaders of tomorrow’

To start talking about the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), let’s start with defining some fundamentals. As an Internet user, you may have come across these acronyms/terms: DNS, IP address, subnet masks and so on. But what do they mean, and why are these important?

Think about our everyday lives as we meet friends and acquaintances. We identify them via a name, we know where they live through an address and these pieces of information characterise their identity. The Internet is no different.

To reach another person on the Internet, you type a domain name (otherwise known as a web address) into your computer (e.g. www.icann.org), and the Domain Name System (DNS) ensures that you are directed to its corresponding site, through the translation of that domain name into an IP address (192.0.34.163). 

Whether you type www.icann.org or https://192.0.34.163, you reach the same destination. These addresses in the DNS must be unique so that each device has its own unique identifier. That way, computers/devices know where to find each other. Without this coordination, we would not have one global Internet.

This is where ICANN comes in - as coordinator of the global internet's systems of unique identifiers It is one of the foundation blocks on which the global Internet has been built. 

Formed in 1998, ICANN is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation dedicated to keeping the internet secure, stable and interoperable by coordinating the Internet’s unique identifiers. It is also a platform where we collaborate with global participants to develop policy regarding these unique identifiers.

“One World, One Internet. An employer brand message which we drive to attract the best of talent in Asia.”   

As an employer in the region
Quite like the DNS, a strong employer brand acts as a unique identifier. It helps in attracting the right talent, as well as in ensuring the right culture fit. 

The internet has become an integral part of our lives. It will benefit the next billion people who come online and there is an imperative need to maintain its stability and interoperability. The message of “One World, One Internet”, which builds on the idea of a global internet for the benefit of all, resonates strongly with our employees.

In less than three years the APAC hub has grown from two to a 30-member strong team, delivering 10 of ICANN’s key core functions. Given our scope, we often have hard to fill and/or critical positions open, which can get quite challenging.  

Engaging the leaders of tomorrow's workforce - the millenials
Millennials today approach job opportunities in a completely different way. We need to understand their psyche and anticipate their expectations. To engage them as digital natives, we need to use a lot of social recruiting tools and networking platforms like LinkedIn as well as a mix of multiple digital media platforms to drive awareness and conversation.

This helps us to find people who share our vision; people who can speak the “language” of the region and are aligned to the cultural ethos of the various demographics which we serve.  

The one-job-for-a-lifetime adage is over. The modern workforce (starting from Gen-X to Millennials) does not stay with one organisation like our parents did. According to CNN, millennials average four job changes in the first 10 years of their career – that’s an average of 2.5 years per job.

“Millennials may gain exposure from job-hopping in the short run, but this may not be beneficial in the long run.”

New graduates are not only changing their jobs – they change industries quickly as well. While this does create a lot of exposure, it does not always help in mastering core skills. One may get exposed to a lot of new things, but proficiency becomes lacking. It is this proficiency that will help you value-add and excel in what you do.

A cross-industry move with a good remuneration package might seem attractive, but if it does not help you build the skills you want, a better idea might be to stick around and hone your craft. In due time, with the right effort, you will emerge within the top 10 percentile of talent in that space, which in the long term gives you far more control on your career.

At the ICANN APAC hub, we strongly encourage cross-team collaboration for exposure, and also enable internal mobility, since it creates well-rounded employees.

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