By Bask Iyer, CIO, VMware
One of our biggest challenges in the tech industry goes beyond competition and technical breakthroughs. It is finding the right talent. Not just any talent – but the right talent for the right job. Talent has become a critical differentiator in IT. But how do you attract the right talent when everyone else seems to want them too?
Today, Millennials have different expectations. Their goals go beyond the old adage, ‘do no evil.’ Millennials want to work for companies that are setting out to transform society. The personal goals of this new workforce are ambitious. They want to change the world and they believe they can effect that change on a personal level. For this generation, a career isn’t just about making money. It’s about contributing to society and changing lives. Millennials are passionate about many topics ranging from environmental issues like climate change, to socio-economic issues of race and gender and wage equality. They want to do work that contributes toward preserving this earth for the next generation.
I am inspired by people who “do good” and inspire others around them to tap into what they’re truly passionate about. In order to attract top talent, it is absolutely essential to identify what makes the people inside your organization “tick” and ensure that company values and activities are driven by this higher purpose.
I have found that Millennials generally take an objective and non-partisan view of the world. They are problem solvers and approach issues with a clear-eyed view of achieving one single objective – to develop a sustainable solution to the problem at hand. They view these problems as shared challenges and offer solutions in the same view – to benefit all. They are not dogmatic, not beholden to a corporation including their current employer nor an enterprise. Growing up in a world of constant connectivity, open communications and a shared economy, they have developed a non-partisan vision of where they want to go. Another important aspect of their worldview is that they are truly global and look at challenges in other part of the world as theirs to solve, and not solely with the goal of monetization.
Like other companies in Silicon Valley, VMware attracts the best talent with a fantastic HR team and innovative recruiting efforts. We don’t stop there. Recruiting is everyone’s job at VMware, and our internal referral program also plays a key role in identifying and recruiting the right talent. We’ve learned that smart people surround themselves with other smart people – and true too of Millennials. VMware offers a great campus and work environment at our many sites, competitive compensation, health benefits, social activities, cafes, a superb speaker series and many other such perks.
The VMware Foundation amplifies the personal passions of VMware employees through a unique approach called “Citizen Philanthropy.” What many of our employees find appealing about it is the power of choice and the collective impact of this approach to give back.
In addition to their passion and new ideas, Millennials in our midst remind us that it’s essential to stay fresh and open-minded. In IT particularly, there is occasionally a tendency for some to become comfortable with existing technology and stagnate, standing in the way of the next generation of innovations. For example, some mainframe people didn’t adopt midrange; some PC people wouldn’t adopt mobile. Some times an open-minded innovator of a previous cycle can become a dogmatic and close-minded hurdle to the next one. In the hopes of avoiding that tendency myself, I work to learn from other generations through a sort of reverse mentoring (more detailed thoughts here) process.
There are days when I feel like I’ve seen it all before. Through my experience, I can say that in order to be successful in today’s business environment, one must find a way to unlearn much of what has been learned in order to continue evolving. Reminding ourselves that we’re in a field that’s constantly and ever-more-rapidly evolving is a good start. Surrounding ourselves with fresh perspectives is another. Employing these principles will make space for new ideas as leaders mature in their careers and adapt to a continually evolving workplace.
On Twitter: @baskiyer