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All workplaces and managers are faced with one problem today — what to do with millennials?

Workplaces want to know how to get millennials to work and not quit. At Indian School of Business, we surveyed thousands of managers to understand the problem


Ask a manager about the most important challenges they face in today’s workplace and they’re very likely to say: “How do I manage millennials?” Defined as the generation born during 1981-1996, millennials seem like strange creatures to many people. On one hand, they seem to be all about pay packets, instant gratification, and job-hopping. On the other, they seem to cherish meaningful experiences. Given these contradictory signals, what is a manager to do, short of tearing out one’s hair and giving up?

There’s no shortage of research about millennials. They value interesting work, a healthy work-life balance, working-hours flexibility, work of high quality that develops their skills, and giving back to society. They are also realistic, need positive reinforcement, and value autonomy and diversity in the workplace. They especially cherish work that is personally fulfilling and is socially conscious. They want work that is challenging, meaningful, and allows for creativity. In other words, they have very high expectations from work.  It’s no wonder that many companies are seeing astronomical turnover rates among millennials. The old rules that made their parents loyal employees need to be thrown overboard for millennials. Clearly, what’s sauce for the goose is sludge for its goslings.

There’s a way out of this seemingly hopeless mess. As researchers at the Indian School of Business (ISB), we’ve surveyed thousands of managers and have come up with a new lens for looking at the future of work. We call it beingful work. The philosophy underlying it is called ‘Beingfulness’. It is the quality of experience associated with a way of life that is true to our whole being, which in turn enables our well-being. Simply put, whole being = well-being. It’s an equation as new as positive psychology and as old as ancient Indian wisdom.

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