Thought Leadership Event

Preparing your organisation for Generation Alpha

Robert Hannah Robert Hannah

The first Generation Alphas were born in the same year that the iPad was launched and Facebook notched up its first 500,000 users: digital will be in Generation Alphas’ blood, and they will have high expectations of what’s possible and available digitally in the workplace.

Organisations must address these expectations by embracing technology. We believe it drives efficiency and provides data which – when properly analysed – yields valuable business insight. What’s more, automation of processes promises to free up people’s time to focus on the more stimulating aspects of their roles and Generation Alpha will expect this as a matter of course.

Innovation: the key to survival

As has always been the case, innovation will be crucial to retaining Generation Alpha customers and employees for that matter.

More than any youth generation before them Generation Alphas will seek the ‘latest’ and the ‘newest’ and they’ll have no qualms about switching products and services. One consequence is that the life cycle of brands and products will become shorter. Brands will have to invest to make sure they have a new product and service pipeline that continually delivers.

I’m often challenged on how best to instil a culture of innovation in organisations. We’ve chosen to adopt a shared enterprise approach which is aimed at encouraging collaboration and contribution of ideas from throughout the organisation. We see this as one way we can make sure our people take ownership of the firm’s performance and are also rewarded for their contribution.

Delivering beyond profit

Part of the challenge from Generation Alpha to brands will be to deliver more than just profits. Much like their predecessors, the Millennials, Generation Alphas will expect businesses to operate with a purpose beyond just profit and with an eye to their impact on people, communities and the environment. Generation Alphas will expect transparency. The advent of technology has put supply chains under the spotlight and there will be no place to hide.

Attracting the screen-centric employee

People-intensive industries such as care, hospitality and retail will also have to give careful thought to how they attract Generation Alpha employees. This generation will have grown up spending many solitary hours interacting with computers or with friends and peers online. How then can they be recruited into social, care giving roles? Adopting flexible working practices, social mobility programmes and family friendly employment approaches will be important for making these industries as attractive as possible.

Generation Alpha are the customers and employees of tomorrow but many of the trends and issues they herald are already making themselves felt.

How we are preparing

We’re preparing the ground by thinking about how we engage with our markets and our people differently. We want to help shape an economy that instils trust and integrity in markets, drives sustainable growth and fosters environments where people and businesses thrive. We think this will be key to helping us generate the innovation and dynamism that will make the firm fit for the future.

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Below are some ideas and questions to help you think about how your organisation can prepare for the future.

How your organisation can prepare for Generation Alpha?

  1. Embrace digitalisation
    Improve business efficiency and unleash employees’ time for more interesting work.
  2. Get to grips with your brand
    Meet the challenges of a fast-changing market by understanding how the life cycle your brand is likely to change and by investing in innovation.   
  3. Make sure you have the skills your business needs
    Make sure your business has access to enough people with the right skills. Collaborate with colleges and universities to influence course development and get involved in mentoring initiatives.
  4. Kick-start innovation in your business.
    Diversity of perspective and expertise is a source of innovation. Make sure you’re recruiting from as wide a talent pool as possible and that your employees come from different social backgrounds. There’s a number of ways you can achieve this. Be flexible and recruit for attitude, not just for academic qualifications. Make sure too, that you address any unconscious bias in your recruitment processes. Offer maternity and paternity policies which enable high performers to continue to work and introduce flexible working practices.
  5. Get your people excited about your business
    Give people a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for the future and performance of your business by exploring the shared enterprise model. Find a purpose for your firm that looks beyond financial performance.