Millennials are making an impact–PLDT exec

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THE last of the millennials—the generation born between the years 1980 and 2000—are already marching into adulthood.

The largest generation in human history is now a curious mix of older teens, very young adults and those approaching a highly experienced and mature 40 years.

This is the generation that has been labeled “egoistic, impatient and entitled” but whose concern for the environment, health and work-life balance; whose premium on transparency, corporate social responsibility, and making an impact, are also well-documented.

At a forum on “Millennials on the Rise” held recently at the First Pacific Leadership Academy, Voyager Innovations Inc. Managing Director Dindo Marzan addressed some of these notions and misconceptions.

“We [millennials] may be perceived as impatient mainly because we simply want things to be quick and of high quality,” Marzan said. “We actually apply the same set of standards to ourselves, so when others don’t meet our expectations we either disengage or lose interest.”

Marzan added that, “Millennials also always need and seek a purpose in what they do.”

“Give them that sense of purpose and expect great and awesome results.”

One of the millennials who occupy a top management post at PLDT Inc.’s digital innovations arm, Marzan highlights the crucial “evangelist” role that millennials play in leading the push for digital inclusion especially in the Philippines and in emerging markets.

At the sidelines of the forum, Marzan also noted: “Especially in emerging markets, millennials have a role in pushing the adoption of digital technologies that can help equalize economic and social opportunities.”

Millennials on a mission

ABOUT 84 percent of Voyager’s work force are Millennials although the Gen Z, the so-called “digital natives”, have started to roam the company halls, as well.

“I believe the company’s bias for inclusive innovation for emerging markets provides us with that privilege of alternative careers along with a chance ‘to make a difference,’” Marzan said.

Voyager Innovations is focused on closing the wide gaps in terms of digital and financial access in the country, by pushing virtual payment schemes and financial technologies (fintech), sponsored-data access and OTT communications among others. The company’s digital payments app PayMaya is the No. 1 financial app on GooglePlay (Phl) while Freenet which offers free mobile data access to partnered sites is the top mobile community app in the country.

Where only 5 percent of 1 million registered SMEs have web sites, and only a fraction of that having transactional online stores, Voyager is a digital economy platforms enabler via online store builder TackThis! together with Takatack, the country’s largest online marketplace. “As long as we stay passionate, assertive, and grounded, I think we’ll be able to influence institutions to go digital,” Marzan said. “Filipinos are in fact digital ready and their quality of life is improved everytime digital capabilities and transactions are enabled.”

Making an impact

THE Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 revealed that millennials “feel accountable for many issues in both the workplace and the wider world”.

“However, it is primarily in and via the workplace that they feel most able to make an impact.” The survey also said that the generation is less fixated on a company’s financial performance and more interested in a business’s potential to do good.

About 76 percent of millennials surveyed see business as a force for positive social impact.

Interestingly, millennials in emerging markets expect to be both financially (71 percent) and emotionally (62 percent) better off than their parents, in contrast to mature markets, where only 36 percent of millennials predict they will be financially better off than their parents and only 31 percent say they’ll be happier.

“In emerging markets, digital has a very high incremental impact indeed on the quality of life of people. Historically, mobile technologies have been highly empowering for folk out here for livelihood, education, information and indeed commerce, even in the earlier days,” Marzan said. “With the advent of smartphones, plus a generation growing up with all these technologies, we shall be closing the gap even faster.”