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DGG Interviews: Understanding the Millennial Employee – Vivek Iyyani

Posted Posted in DGG Interviews

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have heard of or experienced the millennial story in the workplace. With a growing number of millennials in the workforce, this topic seems to be rapidly gaining steam every day.


Yet, a disconnect between millennials and the workforce is present today as well. This stems from differences between:


1) Millennial expectations that do not fit the reality of the present-day workforce, and

2) Workplace practices that are not well-adapted to new-age millennials


In this article, DGG Resume is privileged to have Vivek Iyyani, a Millennial speaker and coach, share with us his insights and advice on this topic.


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Quick Introduction:

Vivek started off his career by working as a freelancer in training companies, conducting leadership workshops for various schools for 4 years. During the same time, he completed his degree in Psychology.


After his graduation, he took a plunge into entrepreneurship and focused on helping Millennials get understood at workplaces. He did so by conducting training for them and their managers on the Millennial Mindset.


To get a better understanding of this topic, we will be focusing on a few areas:

  1. How millennials are different from previous generations;
  2. How can millennials be better prepared for the workplace; and
  3. How employers can better engage with millennials


Sit tight and enjoy this millennial ride!


Why And How Are Millennials Different?

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For a long time, we can observe that millennials today are different in the workplace. They work differently, interact differently, and are motivated differently. But where did this come from, and exactly how are they different?


Vivek explains that the key differences between millennials and that of previous generations lies within their upbringing and economic context.


“The only difference is that we millennials grew up much more empowered. It has to do with the economy we grew up in. There was no burden for Millennials to worry about an iron rice bowl or a roof over their head because their parents provided for all of that.”


Millennials enjoy this comfort in having their basic needs fulfilled. As such, they tend to have higher expectations for jobs, beyond salary itself.


This also refers to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: where their materialistic needs are satisfied and are seeking higher level goals.



“They want cooler experiences and to do things with a sense of purpose. When they’re unable to identify their purpose, they do get lost with the number of options and opportunities out there as well as not knowing if what they’re doing is impactful or purposeful. All of this confusion leads them into what we know as the quarter life crisis.”


Simply put, given their relative economic comfort, millennials are motivated by aspects beyond just pay today. They are looking for more.


“When times are bad, it’s easy to retain staff. But when times are good, it’s a lot more challenging to keep your top talents.


Companies need to know that Millennials are motivated differently, they have different expectations, they communicate differently, and their working styles are significantly different from the earlier generations.”


Advice For Millennials

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Workforce Expectations vs Reality


For millennials, the workforce isn’t as sweet, rosy and comfortable as school was.


Vivek shares that millennials typically get a culture shock when they enter the workforce. Millennials are often used to a guided structure. But managers in the workplace might provide less guidance than expected.


“Their managers may seem as if they’re not as empowering as their teachers or professors from back in school. That’s because Millennials were so used to being guided and coddled as a student that they expect the same at the workplace.


Their expectation is:

As a Manager, you’re supposed to be part of their success and guide them towards it.”


This gap between their expectations and reality may lead to negative consequences. Many millennials may fall into the trap of becoming disillusioned and feeling disempowered. This can lead to a negative spiral that can be hard to recover from.


“They start realising that they’re not as special as they thought and start thinking that they don’t have much to contribute. A dip in self-esteem is seen that can affect work performance.”


Millennials Work Life Preparation


Since work life could be less than what many millennials expected, is it all bleak and hopeless? Definitely not!


Millennials can pick up preparation strategies to excel in the workplace as well.


Here’s how:


Vivek encourages one key strategy to excel at work:

Interpersonal and relationship-building skills.


“Go beyond ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello’ and build a relationship that brings about trust. It is a long and meandering process, but it’s very important because your boss is someone you barely knew but has a high amount of control over the direction of your life. Your promotions in that company depend very highly upon him/her.”


When you build good relationships and trust, bosses will also allow empower you with more impactful work. This helps to improve your job satisfaction as well!



Vivek also shares 3 important skills and attributes that all millennial graduates should have:

  1. Be Proactive – Go the extra mile


  1. Be Productive – Learn to focus on the right things and get more tasked checked during the day as opposed to simply spending more time at the office


  1. Be Promotive – learn to build an online and offline personal brand that people can trust. “


This encompasses three main steps:

(1) Effectively completing work responsibilities,

(2) Going above and beyond responsibilities given, and finally

(3) Building a personal brand


Advice For Employers

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Of course, a career is not a one-way street. Employers have an important role to play in engaging with their new millennial employees.


Employers need to foster an environment that offers millennials power to make themselves heard and gives them a real chance to contribute. Millennials tend to feel motivated when given opportunities and feeling empowered.


Vivek shares his past experience: “Many Millennials mentioned that their number 1 challenge was being heard and listened to. They also mentioned their number 1 advantage and strength is their creativity and open thinking.


When we placed both side by side, we realised that the millennials within the organisation were leaving because they felt that their strengths were not being capitalised upon. Those who stayed were disillusioned and unproductive.


Sometimes, giving Millennials a chance to voice out their opinions can do wonders in terms of motivation.”


And make no mistake, millennials are much more likely to ‘job hop’ when they feel unhappy in a job today.


As Vivek encourages, “With that in mind, they (employers) must learn what motivates the Millennials and how to engage them at the workplace better.”



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Through this interview, I hope that you’ve learnt and understood a new thing or two about millennials.


There may be differences within the company. But these differences can definitely be used as complementary strengths as well.



Vivek then leaves us with a final piece of advice for all of us millennials: “Have patience.”


“It’s easy to see everyone around you moving fast in terms of their dream job and dream lifestyle but it could very well be a façade. Take time off to journal and reflect on what you are passionate about, what you are good at, what are people willing to pay you for and how you want to contribute back to the community.


Take your time with it and check in with your inner circle of trusted advisors – friends, family etc and the answers you seek will find you.”



Enjoyed this interview? You might be interested in our interview articles with other HR leaders as well!

Uncovering The Passion of a HR Avenger – People Mentality

Talking to Samuel from Reelfimpro


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DGG Interviews: Uncovering the Passion of a HR Avenger, Sam from People Mentality Inc

Posted Posted in DGG Interviews

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People Mentality Inc (PMI) operates as the Avengers of HR where we deliver progressive HR solutions through an ecosystem of HR Practitioners, HR Tech Partners and Trainers/Facilitators.”


While many show strong passion for their profession, it is not an everyday occurrence that you hear someone proclaiming a company as an Avenger.


Indeed, Sam is a unique individual who demonstrates a great passion for the HR profession. Despite having a well-established HR career, He admirably made the jump to build his own business, People Mentality Inc and further his passions.


Working In The Corporate Sector


In his first 6 years after graduation, Sam worked for Keppel and Changi Airport Group in different HR roles.


These experiences have shaped him in many positive ways. As a hungry learner himself, he not only excelled in his own role but constantly pursued other work scopes as well.


“I offered to take on more roles than I was expected to take on, and even beyond my scope of work because I really wanted to learn more. I thought I wanted to explore and stretch myself to see if I’m good.”


And stretch himself he did. His passion for learning was evident in the additional work he pursued.


In Keppel, while he started as a generalist in recruitment and staff engagement, he was later given opportunities to manage the Keppel Care Foundation and took on Keppel Volunteers role, among others.


It was also these additional opportunities that truly piqued his desires to do more, outside of the corporate world.


“My experience in the corporate sector was a large part when I started thinking ‘Hey I want to give back more, I want to make more difference to not just the company itself, but the community at large, the organisations and the society at large’. That’s where the more altruistic kind of perspective came about, because of my interactions outside of work.”


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Start of People Mentality


Motivated from his time in the corporate sector, Sam finally built People Mentality Inc in 2016. This was aimed at making a greater impact on the HR profession and community.


As Sam explains, “At People Mentality, we are a HR advocacy firm. The sole purpose of the platform is really to showcase what HR is all about and its impact on business that goes beyond just transactions.”


With this purpose in mind, Sam set out to pursue HR advocacy through different channels:


  1. Consultancy

“Through consultancy work, I work on actual cases and build stories around it to advocate what HR is all about.”


  1. Public Speaking and Training

“There’s also public speaking, training with different kinds of platforms where I get to communicate to a larger audience what I am doing and some of the success stories that I have.”


  1. Content Development

“The last part of course is content development, in terms of my blogs. People Mentality TV is coming up, it’s a Youtube channel that I’m starting end-May 2018, to showcase some of the good practices in the market by interviewing business leaders, HR leaders.”


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Development of People Mentality Inc


As People Mentality Inc worked towards its goals, Sam is also well aware of the different stakeholders and factors that have played key roles in his professional journey.



“First and foremost, I was definitely lucky to some extent, where I was given opportunities to try this and that, and of course good bosses along the way who made things happen.”



“Family support I think is something that is very important, having a family behind you. So you don’t have to worry but know that in any case, if something fails, you have something to fall back on. Family support to me is my drive.”



“I’m lucky to also have really good mentors, that guided me along the way, about the direction of my career. They were ones who showed me the path, the ones who helped me think through again what I want and encourage me towards the purpose.”



“There’s also the community at large. After being involved in various HR communities, it started to get me feeling that I’m not alone in this battle, that I want to make a difference, and there are many people in the market that wants to as well. I feel this support, and it’s a very nice and warm feeling, something that is pushing you ahead, support so that you can go further.”



“There are also partners in the market, for example firms such as HRM Asia that have helped quite a bit from the start. From the beginning when I was a nobody, they helped publish my articles and invited me to become a regular blogger and that’s where more people paid attention to what I said. That’s probably a partner that helped me grow my career and one that I’m grateful to as well.


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Career Advice


With his wealth of experience and knowledge in HR, Sam also revealed some career tips that will definitely be useful for students and fresh graduates alike.


  1. Being Future-Proof

When it comes to decisions in education and careers, one has to aim for the future instead of the present.


Sam first advises that to be future-proof, one has to look beyond the ever changing trends and instead focus on oneself.


“First, it is important to look inside rather than look outside.  Looking inside means understanding your strengths first, what are you good at, what are you passionate about, which are the areas you really think you can make a difference. Then there you can choose your options.”


  1. Having Mentors

Next, he also emphasizes that having mentors are key as they have walked the path before.


“They can advise you and help you see things that you don’t quite see yet. Sometimes as a fresh graduate you can be overly optimistic about everything without knowing everything. These mentors kind of put a reality check, which is important to some extent. These are people that can be your sounding board, your support network which you need when things get a bit tough on this journey.”


  1. Communities

He also encourages looking for communities to broaden one’s mindset and knowledge.


“(Communities help you understand that) there is more than what you see in the organization, helps you break away from the silo mindset and helps you know that there are like-minded people around that you can speak to, collaborate and learn from and collectively grow together.”


  1. Giving Mindset


Fresh graduates tend to focus on showcasing themselves, high salary, and what the companies can offer.


Instead, graduates should think about what they can give, what value they can contribute, which ties in nicely with the previous point about looking inside oneself.


“From my experience, when you are able to give, people see the value. Without you even expecting it, a lot of people value you and a lot of help comes to you. My giving mindset, this accelerated my growth quite a lot in my career.”


Personal Branding Tips


Sam also delved deeper into personal branding for young job seekers, and shared tips on how they can differentiate themselves among job seekers today.


In addition to having a good resume, Sam offers that giving back is perhaps the best way to differentiate oneself and grow a personal brand.


Giving back allows for people to “know you for something” and to “know what kind of value you bring”, building a personal brand as a result.


“For example myself, people always see me as someone who is always giving back in HR communities… To me actions speaks louder than words, it’s not just you telling people that ‘Hey, I’m an enthusiastic guy’, people don’t see it. You need to showcase your actions by giving.”


Another important aspect about branding that he emphasized is storytelling. This is related to how one relates his personal day to day examples through simple stories and values that he/she shares.


“That’s really powerful, because stories are unique to individuals; no one experiences exactly the same stories. So these are unique to yourself, and through stories you can build unique stories that stand out of the rest.”


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Future Goals


Sam also outlined three key goals for People Mentality Inc in the future. While his ultimate goal as a HR avenger is naturally to educate what HR is really all about, he breaks it down to a few smaller goals.


“First of all is to showcase that HR is not destined to be a support function, we can also be one that works together with the C-suite level to make a real difference to the organization.


Second is to showcase (that) Asia-wise we also have good practices and practitioners that we can showcase to the rest of the world.


Third, to showcase to younger people who are considering a start or a switch, that HR is not a boring support function; by going to conferences, starting a Youtube channel, writing articles, pursuing partnerships, just to showcase the point that HR can be fun. There are many possibilities beyond. There are many different ways to grow this as a career.”


Finally, Sam leaves with perhaps his most important advice.


“Give before you think about taking. Because when you give, that’s when a lot of special things happen.”



Enjoyed this article? Click here to read more similar interviews and other articles that we have written!

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Posted Posted in Week Peek

Here at DGG Week Peek, we condense 3 valuable articles we’ve found on the web every week. We provide you with key insights from each article, and some personal takeaways we’ve gathered.

This week, explore lessons on learning from failure, career lessons, and the benefits of having a side hustle!



The 3 Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them)


Decision Making

I have always been intrigued by the idea of knowing “when to keep going and when to move on”. Concepts of persevering and grit, versus pivoting and quit, are at odds but both make sense. The writer introduces a framework he named the 3 Stages of Failure to explore and help resolve this dilemma:


Stage 1 (Failure of Tactics):
These are tactical and execution mistakes, where the process of trying to execute strategies is flawed.


Stage 2 (Failure of Strategy):
These are planning and strategic mistakes, where there is a solid vision, but the plan and roadmap to achieve the vision is flawed.


Stage 3 (Failure of Vision):
These are big picture, directional mistakes. This happens when your actions taken are in conflict with the goal in mind.


After understanding the different types of failure in life, it is easier for one to identify the specific type of failure that happened, and remedy the situation solely based on it.

A simple example: A lemonade seller may have the perfect idea to sell chilled lemonade in hot Singapore (vision), and a good plan to sell at locations with high traffic and (strategy), but lacks selling skills and product (tactics). So the seller should not give up on the entire idea, but instead should focus on learning to make great tasting lemonade.




New Graduates: These Are The Unspoken Rules Of The Workplace No One Tells You

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Career Lessons

New graduates typically might have a hard time in their new workplaces, as they have to navigate through various challenges: interpersonal relationships, office politics, managing superiors and colleagues, and of course the work itself. This article provides some good advice to teach new graduates the many unspoken rules in workplaces:


1. You are there to do your job:
Focus and excel in your task at hand before taking on extra responsibilities


2. It’s up to you to figure things out:
Learning in the workplace requires pro-activity and independence in searching for opportunities


3. Feedback will not come automatically:
Ask the right questions at the right time to learn about your work performance


4. Attention to detail is extremely important:
Avoid small mistakes that can culminate into big problems for you


5. Understand how you fit into the big picture:
Find meaning in your work for the company to improve satisfaction and engagement


6. Companies are not obliged to consider your needs and interests:
Companies don’t owe you anything; the company’s needs will be put ahead of yours


7. No one will care about your career as much as you:
Be invested in your own career progress, and design your own framework to grow




The 4 Unexpected Benefits Of Starting A Side Hustle Today

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Side Hustles

Side hustles are commonplace today, with many people pursuing them do reap greater financial rewards. But outside of financial gain, this writer explores 4 other benefits that having a side hustle will bring:


1. Opportunities:
Side hustles can help you build relationships and connections, demonstrate your skills and abilities, which can come back to beneficial for your career


2. Risk Mitigation:
Having a side hustle helps as a safe way to pursue your entrepeunrial ideas, while not going all in on the risk of quitting your day job


3. Options with multiple sources of income:
Similar point to above, this helps provide lifestyle and career flexibility


4. Finding purpose and meaning:
If you pursue a side hustle with genuine interest and passion, it can be greatly beneficial to providing a greater meaning in your work


Do consider starting a side hustle yourself as an alternative channel of growth and development. There is little risk incurred, but potentially great rewards to be reaped.


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