HR Tech Millennial LACE

HR Tech: A millennial’s experience

My second HR Tech – this time London – promised to be an interesting experience. Paris had left an underwhelming aftertaste, so I wanted to see if the conversation about my generation had evolved since then. Here’s a millennial’s tale of two cities.

In a nutshell, London and Paris couldn’t have felt more different. Here’s why:

London Vs. Paris

There was a formidable lineup of keynote speakers and supporting acts in London. As an ever-curious consultant, these speakers were the highlight of my conference experience. I was especially impressed by the charismatic young Patrick Petitti, co-CEO at Catalant Technologies. He left me energised at the prospect of a career in HR. And, more importantly, he made me feel part of the conversation.

This sense of inclusion cannot be underestimated. And, for me, it offered a marked contrast to Paris.

I’d left my first HR Tech frustrated, after sitting in a room listening to countless conversations about seemingly mythical millennials: a feared yet anticipated group. As a ‘millennial’ myself, I felt constantly talked about, but misunderstood. My generation were relentlessly referred to in the third person, and rarely invited to speak. We were positioned as the next generation coming to take over. A problem. A challenge to be dealt with. Unwanted.

Bright, bold millennial voices

London was a game changer. Petitti spoke to me, about me, and with me, as an unashamed millennial. He made it feel OK to be a millennial, and that’s rare at these events. In Paris, an already outdated dialogue dominated: ‘how do we accommodate this upstart generation of impatient, impulsives?’ London embraced the opportunity to explore how we can change the way companies operate – to use the changing priorities of millennials as a catalyst for growth and evolution.

London’s Disrupt HR section was bursting with millennials presenting their visions for the future, with young start-ups starting genuinely new conversations.

Here are a couple of examples:

Beekeeper

Beekeeper are on a mission to ‘connect the unconnected’. They integrate non-desktop workers (hello, millennials!) with their larger organisations, thanks to a tech solution that simplifies and streamlines communication, for happier, more efficient teams.

Hi5

Hi5 create tech designed to encourage peer-to-peer feedback between co-workers when they run into each other around the office. The aim is to generate performance conversations driven by how people make each other feel and how they genuinely perceive one another’s value, rather than a formal annual goal-setting exercise. Hi5 are really putting people first: exciting stuff.

Meaning. Purpose. Influence.

Millennials are making up a larger and larger percentage of the workforce. As our numbers increase, we’ll continue to influence ways of working. The gig economy. Remote working. Freelance careers. They’re here to stay, and plenty of other innovative methods are on the way. But this should exhilarate us as an industry, not bring fear.

After listening to Petitti talk positively about millennials, I know I can make a difference myself. I have ideas and renewed purpose. I want to help shape the ways companies work – ways which will help people like me to live full, vibrant lives, enjoy my freedom, and work successfully. Petitti said “They have more control. They believe they have more control.” And you know what? We do.

My dream for next year’s HR Tech? To see more of my fellow millennials in the audience, and at the table with senior leaders, driving the workforce revolution.

Rachel Mawson, Senior Associate of LACE Partners and President of the out of the office shenanigans club #millenialgeneration