In the Future workplace, the growing diversity subject faced by HR leaders will be of Age Diversity. By 2020, there will be 5 generations in the workplace – a) Traditionalists born before 1945. b) Baby Boomers born 1945 – 1965. c) Generation X born 1965 – 1985. d) Millennials born 1985 – 1999 e) Generation 2020 born after 1999.

So what the key driving forces of the future agile generations?

A key factor will be the rise of a host of digital technologies. Thus, the managers and HR need to figure out ways to engage and develop the tech-savvy workforce. The Global Survey – “Generations @ Work” Survey on the WE 2020 (Workplace Engagement 2020 Model) brings out several observations on the factors and diverse solutions to attract and engage this workforce. The key factors in play are the following:

  1. Flexibility is the new norm
  2. Blend Work and Life
  3. The Digital Workplace
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility & Employer Value Systems
  5. Continual Social Learning
  6. Clarity in Career Paths

FLEXIBILITY IS THE NEW NORM

Adoption of flexible remote work strategies leading to Lower overhead costs, environmentally-friendly, employee motivation , talent attraction and retention.The surge of coworking spaces and also coworking visas allowing workers to use spaces in different countries or cities is taking over globally.

Several applications like Slack, Asana, Trello, Screenhero(now merged with SLACK), Skype are now used globally to facilitate internal communication, task assignment across cities or continents . Smart technology like IoT and AI have already started changing the landscape and the dynamics of how things get done.

CHALLENGE :- Going ahead , managers will struggle on how to maintain the thin line between managing the ease of access of digital content at the workplace along with maintaining data security and suitability of the content .

WORK LIFE BLEND

Studies show flexibility reduces burnout and stress because you work at the hours you are the most efficient and productive. Andres Tapia, author of “The Inclusion Paradox” https://inclusion-paradox.com/site/ mentions that the demarcation  between work time and home time will get blurred. A new phrase has been doing the rounds recently – WEISURE referring to the line between work and fun .

Eg: In Zappos , an online shoe retailer , managers have committed 20 percent of their their schedules to after work fun activities wit their team.

The days of being in office for 10 – 12 hours are long by gone . Technology today facilitates work such that – an employee can leave office at 3 pm , go home, go to the gym , socialize with friends and then go back online at 9 pm.

Eg: Best Buy had introduced ROWE – Results only Work Environment in a pilot program in 2013 and promoted it as part of their Recruitment Pitch .

THE DIGITAL WORKPLACE

Workforce will continue to expect access to social technologies in an employer. The next generations will be hyperconnected – be it home or work or the gym or even at a house of worship using the latest forms of technology.

Michael Jones , Chief Technology Advocate for Google once sais –“The mobile phone is for the next decade what the computer has been for the last two”.

 Ubiquitous learning

This means learning new skills by leveraging new technologies and through Social Participation using the network  to bounce off thoughts or subjects will all be driven using intuitive mobile applications in the Corporate Social Network or RSS Feeds or even Mash-up!

EMPLOYER VALUES & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The underlying principles mentioned on the left need to be embodied through practice areas resonating across the organizations and through the minds of the millennials . Robust value systems in an organization with a social responsibility charter contribute immensely to engaging millennials. This model emphasizes on 4 focus areas – Social Recruiting , Network , Collaborative Learning and Leadership with innovations. The Net Generation looks for corporate integrity and are the new Scrutinizers.http://dontapscott.com/books/grown-digital/

Triple Bottom Line

The concept of “TBL” or TripleBottom Line or “people , planet and profits” is growing rapidly. Working for an organization with values – sustenance of the planet for future generations echoes greatly with the next generational sentiments. The CONE Millennial Study shows that more than 80% of a group of teens to 25 year olds want to work for an organization which contributes to the society.

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

PWC conducted a survey on 4271 college graduates globally and posed them with a question – “Which benefits other than salary would you value over the next 5 years?” About one third chose learning and development , 3 times higher than those who chose Incentives.

Learning 1.0 was classroom learning ; Learning 2.0 was  computer based learning .

Learning 3.0 is a whole new paradigm with social learning , gaming , real time feedback and simulations . Corporate Training has revolutionized into a social & collaborative experience with business model simulations and alternate reality – MMORPG ( Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) or ARG(Alternate Reality Games) to develop critical thinking skills and ability to act in complex diverse situations.Eg: World Without Oil .

Training is not restricted to only technical skills but Life Skills as well. Eg:the skills to develop their life like learning a new language or health and wellness .

CLEAR CAREER PATHS

Millennials want to move away from just doing project work  rather understand the big picture to move to the Corporate Title track.New age organizations are abolishing the career ladders and encouraging employees with the liberty to steer their own career course . Google has the “find-your-own-way” career path , a dynamic career progression for the millennial workforce

Eg: IDEO – a design company has career paths in terms of achieving degrees of credibility.

The Next Generations or the Digital Natives are wired with technology from birth. They are smarter, more agile and tolerant of the various diversities around , care about ecology and nature . Hence, their expectations from employers will be a flexible environment with social tools to collaborateand participate . Enterprises who are proactive in adapting some of these forces at play will have the competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the future workforce at the workplace.

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