Are Millennials in India Happy to Bid Goodbye to Cash?


Indian Rupees

There’s something interesting about one of my previous employers. There was a very friendly & casual work culture and I must say the organization was quite progressive in terms of employee engagement, innovation etc. The constant quest for doing things differently led to something unusually interesting. It was usual practice to have contests & rewards on a regular basis. Blogging, doing things over & above the job description in an innovative way to make processes better etc. were rewarded on a regular basis which ensured a healthy & a vibrant work culture. But the icing on the cake was the reward itself.

Breaking all stereotypes, the rewards were not in the form of cash or some stereotypical gift items or Sodexho passes but PayTM cash. That’s not something you hear often, isn’t it?

Most employees used it for paying internet / mobile bills or for Uber. That sort of gives the flexibility to the winner to use it the way he/wants. Quite functional too because commuting to work is quite painful in most metros especially when you live far from work. There’s nothing like getting a free ride to work (although you’ve earned it).

That got me thinking and I proposed the idea to some other companies that seek some advice from me and it seemed to have picked up quite well. It’s easy for the employers too, especially the Employee engagement officers or the HR team as they don’t have to scout around for gifts, prize items and cash isn’t all that personal and has very little recall value.

A decade ago, nobody would have thought rewards & prizes would be in the form of mobile wallet cash. We have seen the adoption of mobile wallets steadily increasing over the years & in fact saw a very interesting message in one of the stores I had been to recently:

“Grandfathers paid by Cash. Father paid by Card. You can pay by a-certain-mobile-wallet.”

It was quite catchy & is very likely to strike a chord with the millennials of today. Despite the various reports on death of the mobile wallet & all that, one can’t refute the fact that it’s gotten immensely popular especially among the millennials.

Organizations are doing different things to appeal to their employees to offer a great employee experience. After all, employees are the internal customers & it is quite important to keep them motivated, engaged & happy. When the number of millennials is increasing in number, organizations must figure out ways like these to give them something that appeals to them instead of a boring flower vase or a photo frame or worse, cash!

Another trend that I have been observing is the importance that is given to candidate experience. Thanks to portals like Glassdoor etc., companies are becoming increasingly sensitive to the overall experience of all of the parties that deal with them. Be it customers, employees, partners and even prospective employees or candidates who appear for jobs. There are companies that gift a voucher or some small token of appreciation for their candidates for taking the time out to reach out to them and go through the process. These rewards are majorly for candidates who don’t get through the process and are said to be rejected. Nevertheless, to make them feel good & as a good practice of ensuring a great candidate experience, this gesture is getting immensely popular especially among startups.

An easy reward in this scenario can be mobile wallets. The same benefits such as freedom from the hassle of choice for the recruitment team to choose gifts, flexibility to the receiver to use it they way the desire etc. hold good.

It also has the potential to be a part of the payroll to ensure better accountability for Travel Allowance etc. The possibilities are quite unending and many more such applications & use-cases remain to be seen. It also depends on how mobile wallet companies leverage these trends and good marketing can lead to a major cultural change in the way we look at reward cash.

While we are talking about the increasing adoption of mobile wallet, there’s even more reason to rejoice & go this way because of the recent announcement wherein there’ll be no surcharge for transactions done through mobile wallets. Isn’t that even more reason for going all the way to mobile cash?

About the Author: Sai Sundhar Padmanabhan is an experienced Marketing Professional & a Carnatic vocalist based out of Bangalore

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