“Fundamentally young employees want to work with good leaders. This is where the best organization focus their efforts”

The Grid: Ok, technically speaking, a ‘millennial’, otherwise known as ‘Generation Y’, is someone born between 1981 and 1997 (at the time of this article, a millennial is between 20 and 36 years old). In the advertising industry, any talent acquisition strategy would feature Millennials, no doubt. Do the usual traits assigned to this generation, i.e., lazy, entitled and opportunistic, ring true in your experience?

Nick Seruwagi: Having worked in HR outside of the advertising industry, I know you don’t need to be a Millennial to be lazy, entitled and opportunistic. These traits are visible across any multi generation within any organization. However, our current Millennials do get the most stick for it. I would be lying if I said it didn’t ring true in some instances but there are many proactive,  ambitious and hard working millennials as well. We see this in the growing number of young entrepreneurs across the region.

The Grid: Irrespective of age demographic, doesn’t everyone want work/life balance, professional development, a sense of achievement and appreciation and opportunities for growth. Why are Millennials so special compared to Generation X, baby boomers etc? Is it that they expect everything a lot faster than before?

Nick Seruwagi: Completely agree. We all want those things to enhance our life inside and outside the office. These are things that define a successful career. I believe we can lay some blame to the economic, technological and digital advancements of the last decade. We live in a world with more millionaires than ever, more under 30 CEO’s. This is coupled with significant advancements in social media and content. This landscape is a fast evolving one which baby boomers never had to deal with. As a result, the millennial generation have wants and needs that will help them navigate through this chaos.

The Grid: Are organisations keeping up with these expectations?

Nick Seruwagi, HR Director at Dentsu Aegis Network MENA

Nick Seruwagi: On the whole I think yes. Fundamentally young employees want to work with good leaders. This is where the best organization focus their efforts.

The Grid: What effective initiatives have you seen put in place to attract and engage Millennials?

Nick Seruwagi: We use all the traditional avenues to attract millennial talent including career fairs, open days and LinkedIn.  Our company Facebook & Instagram has been the best source however. We use these platform to showcase news, articles and stories. We also add many pictures showcasing what it’s like to work at Dentsu Aegis Network. These receive a lot of engagement and like from potential employees and clients. Of course, existing employees also get involved in commenting.

The Grid: Is there a danger of stereotyping Millennials and creating divisions between them and other employees?

Nick Seruwagi: Personally I don’t see stereotype or division. Instead I think it is important for HR to understand their employee demographics and regularly get their feedback on how to improve the organization. HR team should invest in HR data analytics tools which can show trends amount different employee groups, engagement opportunities and pain points. This will later complement the HR strategy for all employee groups. At Dentsu Aegis Network we do this in two ways. We run regularly employee engagement survey called the “Check-In”. We also built a in-house analytics tool to which gives us detailed HR insights to support decision making.

This is an extract from an interview with Nick Seruwagi, HR Director at Dentsu Aegis Network MENA.

Dentsu Aegis Network is is a global media group that specialises in Media, Digital and creative Communications services that Innovate the way brands are built.

Interview by May Khizam, Founder & Chief Strategist, The Grid Media Ltd

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