The new world of work
Over the last few years, the world of work has undergone a massive transformation. From portfolio careers to teleworking, from the gig-economy to the growth of the start-up culture – how, where and why we work has significantly changed.
While advancements in robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the subsequent need for lifelong learning shouldn’t be understated, one of the biggest shifts impacting the new world of work is generational diversity. As of this year, Generations Y and Z now comprise more than half of the workforce and by 2030 they will comprise two thirds of it. Understanding their preferred way of work is essential for effective engagement.
The engagement equation
The emerging generations are very different to those past. They speak a different language (we call it ‘slanguage’), are more formally educated, and are moving jobs more frequently. Based on the average tenure of someone staying in one role for 2 years and 9 months, a school leaver today will have at least 18 jobs across 6 careers in their lifetime!
So how can leaders respond? Based on our research of the next generation and what they are looking for in the workplace, the emerging generations are looking for three things in their workplace; culture, purpose and impact.
1. Build culture
The emerging generations thrive in an engaging workplace culture. Workplace culture can be defined as the character and personality of your organisation. It’s the unique sum of an organisation’s values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours and attitudes. Culture is created by the leadership, workplace practices, policies, philosophies, people, mission, vision, values, work environment and communications.
In our research with the emerging generations, 63% of Gen Z say organisational culture and values alignment matters more to them than conditions, earning and salary package
We also found that the top five components they are looking for in a workplace are:
1. Workplace culture (community)
2. Work/life integration (flexibility)
3. Leadership style (accessibility)
4. Job content (variety)
5. Training (employability)
Shorter job tenure and greater mobility is a reality of the workforce today, but this shouldn’t detract leaders from being intentional about the culture that is set.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
– Richard Branson
Organisations that have an enjoyable, inclusive and engaging workplace culture have a better chance at not only attracting great talent but retaining it as well.
2. Identify your purpose
Many young people today leave jobs not because there is a compelling reason to leave, but because there is no compelling reason to stay.
The next generation are seeking places of employment where they resonate with the values and purpose of the organisation. If the culture is the ‘how’, then purpose is the ‘why’. Organisations who have an engaging purpose, and whose values align with that purpose will be attractive to the next generation of employees.
When looking for a job, the next generation are looking beyond just remuneration and employment conditions. The social aspects – such as opportunities for collaboration, social events, co-working spaces and team building – are given consideration, as are the ‘higher-order drivers’ like the triple bottom line (people, profit and planet), organisational values, career pathways, further study, training and personal development.
3. Measure the impact
In addition to culture and purpose, organisations will do well to measure and celebrate the impact employees are having with their work. Each of us are looking for meaning and significance, and our work is a way to make a difference and have an impact. People want to be challenged in their work, make a contribution and celebrate the wins.
As different sectors seek to attract, recruit and retain this emerging generation of employees, remember that workers today are looking for an engaging workplace, inspiring values which connect with their own, and employment opportunities where they can make a difference.
Leaders who invest in developing staff engagement in their organisation, as well as in the next generation by encouraging, equipping and entrusting them with responsibility will create thriving teams and organisations that others will want to be a part of.
-Ashley Fell, Social Researcher at McCrindle
Ashley Fell is a social researcher and is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. She is a TEDx speaker, regularly delivering keynote presentations and is the Director of Communications at McCrindle, who count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.