Often called as the ‘Me Generation’, more and more Gen Y or Millennial Malaysians are entering the workforce and are prepared to take the work-life by storm. However, a great number of Gen Y-ers are facing difficulties in finding the right job for them or even committing to one. The reason for this is because they are looking for work cultures that a lot of companies in Malaysia still lack. Most of the companies still practice age-old cultures that may have worked in the past but are ill-fitting to the newer generations. 

Here are 4 work cultures that Gen Y Malaysians are attracted to: 

A Purposeful Job

Believe it or not, a job with the most attractive salary isn’t the priority for Gen Y. Millennials are in search of jobs that have a true purpose; a job that is meaningful to them and one that allows them to showcase their talents and skills.

For instance, they want to be able to believe in the company they work for. Only then will they have the interest to perform at their best, having confidence in knowing that what they do is in fact important. No one wants to just be a cog in a machine.

Keep in mind that older generations have families as their priorities. So, to them, a good income job to support their families is the most important factor when looking for a job. Young Gen Y-ers differ from the previous generations as they most likely do not have families to support. Instead, this generation is all about building and bettering themselves (exactly why they are sometimes referred to as the ‘ME’ Generation). In a nutshell, they are all about finding something they can believe in and fit in and that is through a purposeful work culture.


Flexibility in Working Hours

Have you realized how more and more employers are offering flexible hours to their employees? It’s because they realize that this key benefit will be productive in the long run when working with Gen Y. Not to mention that it is quite an attractive perk!

Although it may seem ‘unprofessional’ to certain people, the truth is that by allowing your employees to have flexibility in their work, a trust is bonded between you, and employees are free to make their own schedules as long as work is delivered. This makes trust a major aspect of the company. You trust your employees enough in their abilities and care about their well-being as you are acknowledging that they have other priorities as well besides work.

The average Gen Y Malaysians are starting to realize just how dictating the typical 9 to 5 jobs are. “Nope, this is just not for me!” Some companies allow their employees to work from home at times because they know Gen Y-ers grew up familiar with digital technology as it rapidly advanced. In this digital age, they are aware that technology exists everywhere which allows them to work from anywhere besides the office.

So, you might be thinking – how does this benefit me as an employer? PRODUCTIVITY and LOYALTY! The notion of someone working from home usually portrays an image of them relaxing with their feet up, not actually getting any work done. That’s not entirely the case. Not every individual has the same work ethics. For me, I am more productive in the mornings around 7 am until the afternoon. Any employer would be absurd to not take that as an advantage and tell me that the standard time to work is 9 am- 5 pm. Adjusting working hours to suit an individual will yield better results for the company.

A happy and trustworthy work environment creates loyalty. Employees are much happier when their work conditions suit their lifestyle.


Empower Collaboration

What do the X-Men, The Avengers and The Teenage Mutant Ninjas have in common? They are success stories of a team of distinct individuals and how each individual’s talents and skills combined together to achieve one common goal.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic workload that we often forget the importance of teamwork. Collaboration is a vital theme in small businesses today because it works, and big businesses can take a few notes from them!

To empower the Malaysian Millennials, companies should value and encourage transparency. Managers should start facilitating communication between the superiors and employees. Gen Y Malaysians are looking for progressive companies that provide an opportunity for employees to raise their concerns and ideas directly to leadership. Some companies are encouraging reverse mentoring programs, whereby Gen Y-ers help their Gen X bosses better understand the advances in technology in this age of time. These are the kind of practices in the workplace which will benefit the company greatly.

Ideas should also flow seamlessly. Millenials want their ideas to be heard. A collaborative workplace with a free flow of ideas is often the most innovative and productive. There is no reason for ideas to be held back just because they come from someone who is from a more junior position. Often times the freshest ideas come from those who are fresh in the workforce!


Occasional Recognition and Rewards

Heres a thing about Gen Y Malaysians or any Gen Y for that matter. We really, really want feedback and to be acknowledged. We are a generation that’s accustomed to attention and praise since the beginning. So its not unusual to expect regular affirmation at work.

Whilst there is no need to shout from the rooftops, some recognition would be nice. That way we know that we are doing a good job and are being appreciated.

Companies should recognise the good work of their employees as it will create loyalty and motivation. These days in some companies, recognition is encouraged in daily team huddles and meetings or even thank you notes. A work culture that shows appreciation will be a great way to attract Gen Y employees.


To sum it up, the traditional workplace hierarchy is a system that Gen Y Malaysians simply do not believe in. So, if you’re an employer of a company with traditional work cultures, then I think it’s time to make some minor changes to better suit the incoming generation to the workforce. Change can be a good thing if you do it right!





Posted by Vinitra Pillai

A wallflower. Professional introvert. Analogue at birth, digital by design