Born into an increasingly digital world, where connections are more frequently made online than off, the ‘Born Digital’ generations made up of Gen Z and millennials, are undoubtedly the natives in a digital-first world.
With 40% of 2021’s working population Gen Z, and millennials increasingly climbing the ranks into managerial and leadership positions, the modern workplace is rapidly being reshaped. Creating a working environment that more closely aligns with their world view with a focus on flexible work-life balance, these younger generations are redefining work for everyone.
This evolution is universal and with increasing remote and flexible working practices work is no longer being marked as somewhere you go but instead by what you do and when you do it. A booming job market and desire for improved work-life balance has led to a mass exodus of staff, dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’, especially in organisations that are failing to adapt. In fact, research from Catalyst and CNBC has highlighted that half of employees looking to make a career change are doing so because they are looking for location flexibility (i.e. remote work flexibility) and approximately 41% because their company has not cared about their concerns.
To attract and retain talent, leaders need to take the time to understand what younger generations really want from their work environment and consider how to empower an increasingly divided intergenerational workforce.
What the younger generations are looking for
The working style of younger generations clearly differs from their predecessors. As a working group, they aren’t shy about delegating upwards, expecting reciprocal respect, and openly demanding a better work-life balance.
Interestingly whilst there are differences in the two younger generations currently in the workforce, they ultimately are looking for the same things when it comes to their ideal workplace. Research from Gallup shows that they are looking for:
- An employer who cares about their mental and physical wellbeing
- Ethical leaders and businesses who match their own internal values
- Leaders who support diverse and inclusive workplaces
For this younger workforce, it is not just a matter of corporate policy but creating a truly collaborative, communicative workplace environment that ensures that respect and recognition matter in every direction. The question for business leaders is how can they manage an intergenerational workforce and balance their needs with business strategy?
Building a collaborative intergenerational workforce
A new era of work requires a new approach. Given the focus on respect, equitable approach, and inclusion, leaders need to empower an intergenerational workforce by focusing on human-centric leadership.
Changes championed by young workers have opened up the workforce and helped create a healthier approach to work with many businesses seeing an increase in productivity and engagement when taking a flexible approach. To harness these changes for success, leaders need to build a digital workplace with a strong focus on employee experience to build empathy and deepen engagement can help to build bonds and bridges across generations to create more successful productive businesses.
However, moving to a digital workplace takes investment – ‘work anywhere’ solutions need to be:
- Inclusive – offering equal experiences for everyone
- Flexible – adapt to any work style, role, environment
- Supportive – focus on safety, empathy, and well-being
- Secure – be secure by design, private by default
- Managed – deliver modern infrastructure, frictionless administration
Regardless of workspace, all generations need flawless collaboration spaces to engage and interact with one another. By empowering employees with the tools to create, communicate and collaborate wherever they are, leaders can bridge the generational gap.
Empowering employees to work together
The key is for all generations is to feel connected to one another and create team synergies. A human-centric approach focused on collaboration inspires real-time productivity and teamwork, in turn improving business agility and competitiveness.
To build a future-facing collaborative workplace, businesses need to adopt solutions that are focused on employees as individuals. By treating them as such, businesses can connect individuals and their roles directly to the business vision and values helping to drive mutual respect for the value they bring.
Regardless of generation, today’s workforce needs spaces that allow for real-time conversations and connect collaboration to connect a borderless workforce. Working with a trusted partner to implement a future-proofed digital workspace can unlock productivity by leveraging digital technologies that allow employees to collaborate freely, improve performance and achieve work-life balance. Discover what stage your business is at on your digital workspace journey and how to progress with our collaboration survey.