Every generation moves through a different world. The unique global context they witness shapes who they become as a group, with their own goals, values and (let’s be honest) stereotypes. Today’s diverse and multi-generational workforce includes those reliable Baby Boomers, those spunky Millennials, and socially-conscious Generation Z… Oh, oops, did we forget Generation X?
Already, another generation is making its way through school and toward the workforce. They will bring with them their own preferences, shaped by a post-pandemic and Internet-saturated childhood. Get ready to meet Generation Alpha.
What Is The Next Generation Called?
Australian social researcher Mark McCrindle coined the term "Generation Alpha" for the next generation. He used the Greek alphabet to symbolize fresh beginnings, representing the first generation born wholly in the 21st century. They are following Gen Z, which straddled the millennium from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.
The birth years of this next generation span from 2010 to 2024, so it’s still growing. With more than 2.5 million babies being born worldwide every week, it’s estimated it will become the largest generation in the history of the world with more than 2 billion members.
Who is Generation Alpha?
Given that they'll grow up with unprecedented access to advanced technology, this generation is all tech-first. They're also defined by their increased cultural diversity and longevity, which will represent a significant shift in global demographics. As it will likely be easy for them to work, study, and travel between different countries throughout their lifetimes, it's anticipated they'll be one of the most culturally diverse, well-traveled, and mobile generations ever.
The characteristics that define Generation Alpha, according to McCrindle, are the following:
- Digital and tech-savvy
- Hyper-connected and social
- Global and mobile
- Visual learners
As this new generation takes hold of the mantle, the future workforce will see shifts in societal and occupational expectations. Generation Alpha is expected to remain in educational programs for considerably longer periods than their predecessors. This is likely to produce age-diverse offices where progressively older working generations mix their skill sets with a younger workforce.
How Should Companies Prepare For Generation Alpha?
Companies must take into account not only the variety of cultures embodied within Generation Alpha but also their projected longer working lives. This will require alterations to policies, offerings, and support systems, including redefining how employees advance within an organization.
Place Sustainability as a Core Value
Sustainability will be a key driver for this environmentally conscious generation. Almost two-thirds of children between six to nine-year-olds already say they want to work somewhere they’ll get to save the planet, according to a study by Wunderman Thompson.
Incorporate sustainable policies, practices, and strategies into business models will help attract Gen A. This includes prioritizing energy-efficient solutions, reducing waste, embracing circular economies, and investing in renewable technologies.
Embrace a Digital-First Approach With Technology
This new generation is accustomed to instant access to information, fast-paced communication, and living in a digitally connected world. They’ve never had reason to experience otherwise.
Companies will need to adapt their current workplace tools to accommodate this entirely digital-first approach. Traditional channels like email exchanges will likely be too slow and inflexible for this hyper-connected generation, who demand instant communication and collaboration.
Gen Alpha's inclination toward visual learning means that the use of video conferencing, virtual whiteboards, and project management tools enhances their understanding and connectivity with the team. Therefore, to attract members of Generation Alpha, companies will have to keep up-to-date with work technologies and implement a culture of collaboration that depends on digital tools.
Lead with Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion
Generation Alpha will be the most diverse age group, a report by Hotwire found. This melting pot of diversity has the potential to vastly enrich the workplaces of the future, provided companies are prepared to adapt and become more inclusive.
This makes prioritizing inclusivity and belonging even more important than it already is. Company cultures that celebrate diversity, cultivate cultural understanding, and foster a sense of belonging for everyone in the workforce will go a long way toward wooing this segment of the workforce.
Companies can develop a clear and actionable plan that conveys their commitment to diversity and inclusion. This strategy should outline specific goals, objectives, and initiatives. Consider regularly reviewing these policies to ensure they’re in step with any cultural evolutions. Making accommodations for religious practices, offering flexible work arrangements, and creating family-friendly policies can go a long way in nurturing a diverse workforce.
Embrace Flexibility in Work Hours and Locations
As Generation Alpha observes their parents transitioning towards hybrid and remote work models, they, too, will expect this level of flexibility in their professional lives. The concept of rigid 9-to-5 schedules or being confined to one office location might seem outdated to this future workforce. Instead, they'll seek dynamic work environments catering to their personal and professional needs.
To keep Generation Alpha engaged, companies may consider adopting flexible work models, ranging from remote work options to adaptable work schedules. This pairs with Gen A’s need for a digital-first collaboration.
Offering Work-Life Wellness Will Be Key
As we prepare to welcome Generation Alpha into the workforce, employee wellbeing will play an increasingly dominant role in the competition for talent. The vast majority of workers already say their wellbeing is as important as their salary, and the concern with mental and physical wellbeing is only on the rise.
Leaders already recognize this evolution, with 93% of C-suite leaders saying wellness programs are essential for employee satisfaction. Establishing a strong wellbeing program today can help your employee retention today and tomorrow. If you're interested in bolstering your talent strategy with an inclusive, flexible workplace wellness program, speak with a Gympass wellbeing specialist today!
- Fell, A. (2022, October 27). The influences shaping Generation Alpha - McCrindle. McCrindle. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from https://mccrindle.com.au/article/topic/generation-alpha/the-influences-shaping-generation-alpha/
- Hotwire Global Communications. (2021, October 19). Understanding Generation Alpha - Hotwire Global. Hotwire Global. Retrieved May 25, 2023, from https://www.hotwireglobal.com/whitepaper/generation-alpha-2/
- McCrindle (2020) Understanding Generation Alpha. McCrindle. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from https://generationalpha.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Understanding-Generation-Alpha-McCrindle.pdf
- Wunderman Thompson (2019) Generation Alpha. Wunderman Thompson. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from https://www.wundermanthompson.com/insight/generation-alpha-2019
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.