You may be familiar with the different generations currently making up our workforces, such as Gen X, Y, and Z, but did you know about a new kind of generation who will shape the future of work in exciting ways? They are very nimble with technology and the oldest among them is about 12 years old now. Say hello to Gen Alpha, defined as those born between 2010 and 2024 and estimated by research agency McCrindle to make up 11% of the global workforce by 2030.
In the second episode of #BincangHR titled Human Resources 5.0: Building a Future-ready Workforce for Labor Intensive Industries, Dr. Alex Denni, President Commissioner of wagely, discussed what employers could do to prepare their workplaces for Gen Alpha.
It is never too early to start thinking about Gen Alpha as it is an opportunity for employers to take stock and explore strategies that will give them the edge they need to attract and retain this generation later on.
- Dr. Alex Denni, President Commissioner of wagely.
Since the minimum employment age in Indonesia is 15 years old, with some exceptions, such as 13 years old for light work and 18 years old for dangerous work, Gen Alpha will most likely start filling the workplaces in 2028. To better understand how employers can champion and support this generation, let’s see what the future of work shaped by Gen Alpha will look like.
- The adoption of Learning 5.1 in the workplace
In his latest book Learning 5.1: Get to the Future Early, Dr. Alex Denni explains that employees need to have a new mindset, skillset, and toolset in order to continue to grow and develop in the Industry 5.0 era. He suggests employers create a learning culture where every employee is willing to learn and teach while working so that they are unconsciously competent in carrying out their respective tasks.
Learning 5.1 presents a new mindset that nothing is impossible to learn considering the role of technology in giving Gen Alpha wider and limitless access to knowledge. Additionally, this concept also embraces the idea that everyone is a learner as well as a teacher, so that the flow of knowledge can be two-way instead of one-way. No more such terms as ‘mentor-mentee’ nor ‘superior-subordinate’ when it comes to the learning process in the future work environment.
- Embracing technology and the metaverse for work
Unlike prior generations, Gen Alpha has learned about topics, such as AI and coding since elementary school. They are the most technologically integrated generation of our lifetime. With an early introduction to smart tools, they will learn at a faster pace and be able to apply them in professional settings. They might also be able to comfortably leverage the metaverse for training opportunities. For example, a mechanical engineer who comes from Gen Alpha can use the metaverse to simulate fixing a problem.
- Prioritizing wellbeing at work more than ever
Growing up during a pandemic, economic uncertainties, and remote work experience, Gen Alpha will be coming into the workplace at a time when wellbeing is right at the top of the agenda. Even the topic of wellbeing itself has been on the rise over the past few years. Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2022 pointed out that employee wellbeing programs have become one of the top five reasons why employees stay, which puts the onus on an employer to ensure not only the emotional, physical, and social aspects, but also financial wellness.
Moreover, the Financial Health Survey conducted by wagely with more than 3,500 participants shows that 77.5% of employees are more loyal after using the service. Having access to their earned salary whenever needed means employees can pay their bills on time and meet their financial goals, which in turn results in employees staying longer. As earned wage access continues to become the new norm, it is important for employers to better align themselves with what the new generation expects from them.
- Diversity & Inclusion are a requirement
By the time Gen Alpha enters the labor market, there will be a lot of diversity in leadership positions. They believe it is important to treat all people as equals regardless of race, ethnicity, color, and national origin. Gender equality is equally important to this generation. As growing up in an increasingly diverse world is shaping Gen Alpha’s views and expectations, they will walk away if they find themselves in companies that appear to support something publicly while actually disregarding it.
- Workplace preference and desire to make a positive impact on society
Working from anywhere will also be the new norm, and Gen Alpha will have a key role in this. During the pandemic, they attended online classes, so the transition to remote working will be easy for this generation. Furthermore, Gen Alpha will want to work for companies that align with their values. They will feel good about the work they are doing, knowing their employers provide benefits to society, especially on key issues they are personally passionate about like climate change, financial inclusion, and women empowerment.
Every generation has changed the world of work, yet today the future of work is Gen Alpha. As employers continue to improve their work environments to attract and retain Gen Z, now is the time for them to rethink their approach to benefits, culture, and so on - to meet Gen Alpha’s needs as well. There is still a long road ahead but when we unlock the potential of Gen Alpha, we can all create a future-ready workforce.