Article

What impact will Generation Alpha have on business?

Agenda magazine Agenda magazine

Joe Nellis, professor of global economy at Cranfield School of Management, explains the impact on businesses of Generation Alpha: the wealthiest, most educated and dynamic cohort of workers yet.

Born to digital technology like it’s a fifth element of nature, mediating everyday roles and demands via a digital device will be the norm for Alphas, the generation born since 2011. Their psychological and physical relationships with the world will be based on the assumption that interactions will be simple, easy and instant.

Alphas will stay in education for longer, take on adult responsibilities and join the workforce later, have children later and many more will become centenarians. As there will be fewer Alphas, they will also be financially better off per capita, in contrast with Generations Y and Z – the first cohorts to be less well off than their parents.

Demanding audience

The business world will be confronted with the most demanding customers and employees in history, expecting speed, responsiveness and customisation as standard. Wanting more than mass-produced, off-the-shelf products, Alphas will demand personalised services and care less about product ownership. They won’t pay for a car, just mobility.

It will be difficult to win Alpha consumers' attention and loyalty, as they will be more likely to ditch established brands on news of a poor product, service or ethical practice.

At work, Alpha employees will be tougher to keep motivated and challenged, preferring individual projects with their own rewards. They’ll move in and out of employment, self-employment and periods of learning and pure leisure.

Dealing with complexity

But Alphas will be better able to deal with complexity, processing larger amounts of data and translating it into what’s simple and essential. They’ll train as specialists, going far deeper into particular disciplines. Studying to master’s degree level is likely to become standard, with students not being so quick to enter full-time employment.

Alphas will be able to benefit from the world created by previous generations, but the psychological impact of their digital lives is yet to be fully understood. Closer attention will be paid to mental health and wellbeing, with education playing a crucial role in individuals learning to be adaptable, resilient and socially aware.

Report

People power: fuelling your growth through talent and skills uncovers how high-growth business are securing and developing future talent. 

Five ways to improve your organisation in preparation for Generation Alpha

Justin Rix, Partner, Talent Solutions

Embrace digitalisation

Improve business efficiency and free employees’ time for more interesting work.

Get to grips with your brand

Meet the challenges of a fast-changing market by understanding the life cycle of your brand.

Train your workforce

Make sure your business has access to enough people with the right skills. Invest in developing skills to match the needs of your business now and in the future. Collaborate with colleges and universities to influence course development and get involved in mentoring initiatives.

Diversify for innovation

Recruit from as wide a talent pool as possible so that you achieve diversity of perspective and expertise. Address any unconscious bias in your recruitment processes and hire for attitude, not just for academic qualifications. Offer maternity and paternity policies that enable high performers to continue to work, such as allowing more flexible working practices.

Share your enthusiasm

Give people a sense of ownership and responsibility for the future performance of your business by exploring the shared enterprise model. Find a purpose for your firm that looks beyond the financial.

For more information, please get in touch with Justin Rix.

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