Are you ready for the
new work force?

Are you ready for
the new work force?

May 2020

Are you ready for the new work force?

Attracting the right employees is a critical differentiator for modern businesses today. Do you know what younger generations expect from their work life? Are you prepared to meet their requirements and if so, how do you do so without undermining your existing work culture?

New generations like millenials and their younger cousins, gen Zs, have different aspirations for their work life than older generations. Also, while gen Z enters the work force, older colleagues that could almost be their grandparents (often referred to as baby boomers), stay active longer which means we have a larger span of generations in the work force than ever.

Alarm bells ringing in C-suites

Over the past eight years, Deloitte has published a Global Millenial Survey. Their most recent survey includes gen Z, who are born between 1995 and 2002 and therefore are getting ready to enter the work force.

The 2019 survey is the most extensive so far with a sample size of 16,425 representatives from 42 countries. Concluding on the report findings Deloitte warns: “the results of this year’s survey should have alarm bells ringing in C-suites around the world.”

So why is that? Why should management worry, and where should they pay particular attention? We delved into that and have extracted some key findings for you.

Purpose-driven and concerned about the climate

Millenials, and gen Z with them, are often described as disillusioned and skeptical of businesses’ motives. In their search for meaning they value purpose driven companies both as consumers and employees. Their favorite companies back up their strong values and opinions with meaningful actions in support of the climate, community or the wellbeing  f human beings. Millenials and gen Z are concerned with mental health, and thus work life balance is a high priority for them.

This is where management should pay attention

From a work life perspective, we’ve deducted some of the highlights from the 2019 survey, and these are some of the trends to be particularly concerned about:

Business is out of touch with millenials’ and gen Z’s priorities

There is a growing view among respondents that businesses focus on their own agenda rather than considering society. The younger generation expect companies to produce high-quality goods and services, create jobs and care for its employees and society but their experience is that businesses more often value profit over the greater good.

Disconnect regarding business’ role in developing talent for Industry 4.0

Integrating data and machine learning even further with Industry 4.0 demand new competencies. Preparing the work force for Industry 4.0 is mandatory, but business leaders consider this primarily an individual and government driven responsibility whereas millennials expect businesses to help them prepare for Industry 4.0.

Loyal – as long as their needs are met

The survey reveals a remarkable raise in the number of millennials who consider leaving their job within a two-year time frame. This trend is backed up by the fact that a quarter of them did leave an employer within the past 24 months. For companies seeking a stable workforce this is a challenge.

They have a valid alternative to corporate life

As much as millenials and gen Z are open for changing from one company to another they also consider freelancing or contract work a valid alternative to corporate life. More than 80% would consider this option. Potential financial upside, freedom to plan work hours and a better work/life balance are driving forces. 

Spanning four generations

In addition to these concerns, bringing together four generations in the workplace can be a challenge. Baby boomers, generation x, millenials and gen z have different career aspirations, different work ethics and are motivated differently.

As an example, the younger generations expect much more feed-back in their daily work and also expect information about ongoing decision processes. Being digitally indigenous, they are used to having information at their fingertips when they want it which they also expect workwise. Also, instant feedback is an integrated part of their daily life which they consider natural and value at work as well. Daily check-ins would be perfect for gen z whereas older generations would probably consider that inappropriate and disturbing.

 Four ways to meet the expectations of your millennial and gen z employees:
  • Establish feed-back routines – they expect to hear from their manager regularly
  • Involve them in decisions – they expect to be informed, asked and considered
  • Lead by example – they expect managers to act with integrity and show the way
  • Be bold and take a stand – they expect businesses to have a clear purpose and to communicate and act accordingly

What’s your position?

Are you aware of how generational gaps are at play in your company? And how prepared – and open – are you for inviting in the younger generations? Do you respect their approach to work life or do you rather consider it your job to mold them to fit the existing culture? Or perhaps a bit of both?

We’ve crafted a set of inspirational questions to help raise your organization’s awareness around some of the critical areas related to embracing the younger generations and meeting their needs:

  1. Does your company have a stated purpose that goes beyond market value, growth and profit?
  2. Is your purpose clearly communicated, integrated in your business culture and backed up with meaningful action?
  3. Does management lead by example and serve as agents for positive change?
  4. Is feed-back integrated in your culture and how is it given and received?
  5. Are your purpose and values strong enough to attract millennials and gen z - and are your financial rewards and opportunities for growth strong enough to retain them?
  6. How do you prepare yourself and your work force for Industry 4.0?

What more help to prepare?

Across industries, businesses are facing identical challenges when it comes to welcoming new generations and spanning generational gaps. Some traits, though, are more industry specific. Are you curious about the Life Science perspective? We’ve asked Søren-Ulrik Rolsted Fangholm, Head of Atrium and Director, Marketing & Business Development, DLI Market Intelligence, to answer the 6 questions above and share his thoughts on opportunities and threats for pharma companies in particular. Atrium and DLI MI are part of the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Click to read Part 2 of this article: “What’s your x-factor?”