Posted on: 11 May 2018
Will the Alphas become the new top dog in the workplace?
So, you’ve zeroed in on generation z, mastered millennial's, become an expert on gen x and got down to business with the boomers. But what comes next? Well, luckily Mark McCrindle, a generational researcher and corporate consultant in Australia, has been hard at work trying to get a read on the next generation, generation alpha.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any stereotypes to disprove for this generation, as many of them are still very enigmatic, often not speaking a word and communicating through hand gestures and screams. But we do have five areas in which they have diverted from the generations before them, and what this could mean for employers when they enter the workforce.
They are being brought up with technology
Generation Alpha are part of a digital generation. They have grown up surrounded by technology and the internet, and they have been using mobile phones, tablets, e-readers and computers since before they even started school. The massive changes in technology, and other areas, make Generation Alpha the most transformative generation ever, according to Futurist, demographer, and TEDx speaker, Mark McCrindle.
Generation Alpha will grow up being able to instantly access information, watch anything they want at any time, and transfer a thought online in a second. Generation Alpha will expect even faster results, a greater array of choices and more immediate customisation. Business will have to give careful thought to how they attract Generation Alpha employees. Adopting flexible working practices, social mobility programmes and family friendly employment approaches will be important. So too, will the businesses reputation as information supplied by previous and current employees will be even easier to access.
Their generation is the most culturally diverse
With birth-rates currently higher among ethnic minorities Generation Alpha is shaping up to be the most culturally diverse generation to date. Diversity is key when it comes to running a successful organisation, so this increase in diversity that will come with the Alpha’s will mean great things for the workplace.
However, while a diverse workforce is crucial for a company’s success, it can increase the need for instant and effective communication. There is no one size fits all when it comes to communicating with a diverse workforce, but here at Personal Group we have experienced excellent results by combining online communication and face-to-face.
They are being raised in smaller families
While many members of the previous generations are used to compromise due to their larger family groups, generation Alpha have fewer siblings, with many of them being an only child.
This self-reliance and independence may make them more demanding employees. They will know their own worth and be ready to wait for the right job that offers them what they want. If employers want their skills in the workforce, they will have to be ready to service their needs in return.
They were born to older parents
The average age to have a child in England and Wales has increased by around one year per decade since the 1980s. This delay in having children means that generation alpha are likely to experience greater wealth and more material goods than any generation before them.
Due to this, Generation Alpha will shoulder the expectations of their Generation X and Y parents, who, on average, have waited around thirty years to start a family. However, KPMG demographer Bernard Salt has warned that they may be ‘vulnerable to little emperor syndrome.’ ‘They will be a star from age three and grow up with a sense of self-importance.’ For these ‘little emperors’ reward and recognition will be key, and effective communication of achievements will be a huge factor in their workplace happiness.
They are expected to live longer than previous generations
Generation by generation, lifespans are increasing. However, this coupled with the rising age of first time parents, this means that the Alpha’s will ultimately be responsible for supporting a larger aging population than we are even seeing today with the retiring boomers. It has been projected that by mid-2039 the number of people aged 75 and over will rise by 89.3%; just as Generation Alphas are reaching their greatest earning potential.
The ‘sandwich generation’ phenomenon will have become far more prevalent, which means that the opportunity for flexible working will increase in importance for generation Alpha employees.
Ultimately, employee engagement will become even more crucial for motivating a productive and engaged workforce. The same areas of engagement will be as important as they are today, but far more emphasis must be placed on putting the employee first in order to recruit and retain generation alpha staff.