Much research has been conducted on the attitudes, behaviors and preferences of Millennials at the workplace, which currently represent the largest part of the global workforce. However, organizations looking to prepare for future trends in employee engagement and long-term cultural success can benefit from learning about the forthcoming generations as well, which are already influencing our socio-economic landscape. They are Generation Z and Generation Alpha; below is how they are generally defined:
1. Those born between the year 1997 to 2010 are termed Generation Z
2. Those born between the year 2010 to 2024 are termed Generation Alpha
Studies show that by 2025, Gen Z will comprise 27% of the workforce, whereas Gen Alpha will enter workplaces post 2020. But are generational differences really so distinct or is this a case of ‘much ado about nothing’? While basic human needs like appreciation, recognition and career advancement remain the same, there are significant behavioral differences between different generations.
As an example- Baby Boomers (born between 1946 to 1964) were known to prefer economic security and thereby monetary benefits, whereas Millennials (born between 1981 to 1996) showed an affinity for intangible benefits and non-monetary recognition. This blog explores the newest joiners in the workforce- Gen Z who is already redefining workplace norms and Gen Alpha, which has the answers to technologies and processes companies need to start integrating now.
Engaging Generation Z
Gen Z, like their millennial predecessors, has been raised in a societal culture that lauds and appreciates their efforts through instant gratification. This can be in the form of participation certificates, reward points earned through retail transactions, exposure to virtual games and so on. Recognition practices at work need to be synchronous with this external phenomenon.
However, Gen Z being digital natives, that is, having been exposed to technology from a young age, is much more tech-savvy and comfortable with e-learning, digital apps and virtual communication. As a result, they expect their workplace software to reflect the customized nature of their digital interactions as a consumer. Being adept multi-taskers and practical- natured (they have experienced the 1999 dot-com bubble burst and the 2008 recession during their formative years) they know what they want and expect their team’s encouragement in pursuing goals at a faster pace than millennials.
That is not to say that they are self-centered- a Deloitte study revealed that 47% of Gen Z wishes to make a positive impact on their community and value human connection- they just have a different approach to building those connections. They are also passionate about causes like mental health and DE&I, which means they expect their employer to uphold those values.
Engaging Generation Alpha
If Gen Z is well-versed with technology, Gen Alpha is used to voice-activated search, machine learning and IoT tools at home- and they are still in school or pre-school! Considered the most materially endowed, racially diverse and educationally advanced generation till date, they are expected to be strong future assets of corporations worldwide. Given that their parents have already adjusted to a hybrid way of work, these Alphas will only further the trend of integrating life and work. Further fueling their disruptive nature will be their keen interest in skill-based learning and innovation, making them better suited to gig work or temporary job roles.
Accordingly, engaging Gen Alpha will require organizations to ramp up their digital engagement tools and overall employee engagement framework. An increased interest in personalization, humanized messaging, and social shopping should be accommodated within their rewards and recognition platform. We can also expect machine learning, natural language processing, virtual reality and smarter hardware devices to allow for improved employee connect, immersive learning experiences and workforce data in the coming years.
Actionable R&R Tactics
So, how can the above information assist companies in upgrading their employee experience today? Below are some actionable steps that can be implemented starting today:
1. Introducing digital recognition tools with a consumer grade UX
2. Introducing self-selection in rewards through a digital benefits marketplace
3. Facilitating mental health support through professional counselling services, mental health seminars and classes
4. Encouraging collaboration through mobile-friendly tools like chat and company social walls
5. Promoting professional growth through spot recognition, real-time feedback and incentivized e-learning
6. Including AI chatbots in digital employee experience apps
The demand for transparency, frequent communication and employee recognition will only rise with the forthcoming generations. Both Gen Z and Gen Alpha live in a hyper-connected world, with access to instant social validation and peer reviews through a few clicks. Making them feel valued and included means setting up an ecosystem where they will win- a workplace extension of their virtual communities is therefore a must.
Technology offers a bridge between these newer and older generations, so to speak and helps everyone reap the benefits of the latest advancements in doing better work. R&R digital transformation is, in fact, the only way forward to building adaptable, innovative workplaces of the future. Get in touch with our digital R&R experts to know Gratifi can help your company in this endeavor!