Note: In the third of our three-part series, “A New Era: Here Comes Generation Z,” we look at how technology influences the lives of the members of Generation Z, and what a workplace can do to adapt to this generation.
- Traditionalists, born between 1930–1945
- Baby boomers, born between 1946–1964
- Generation X, born between 1965–1980
- Millennials, born between 1981–1997
- Generation Z, born after 1997
It goes without saying that there has been a seismic technological shift since the traditionalists first stepped into the workplace. Cutting-edge 1950s innovations—microwaves, automatic doors and Velcro—don’t hold a candle to the incredible technology that has been emerging in the past few years.
Your company is about to see a deluge of employees who don’t remember life before iPhones and Instagram.
Generation Z is a group of digital natives, and accordingly, can keep up with changes in technology in a snap. And changes there are—major technology breakthroughs will influence the workplace very soon, and the way your company reacts will influence the way you attract and retain members of Generation Z.
Here are three new types of technology that have the most potential of influencing Generation Z:
In a 2011 episode of Jeopardy!, a surprise contestant defeated two of the show’s most successful candidates, besting their score by more than $50,000.
What was most surprising—the contestant wasn’t human. It was Watson, a question-answering computer system developed by IBM to show off its artificial intelligence prowess.
While artificial intelligence is beginning to advance, we may have to wait a few years to see its full impact in the workplace. It’s already becoming a part of everyday life with innovations based on the fields of artificial intelligence: Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s “OK Google” command. And, as Generation Z brings these technologies into everyday use, they’ll bring them to the workplace in a huge way.
Internet of Things
The Internet is a game-changing invention, and it’s hard to imagine our lives without it today. (You wouldn’t be reading this blog post without it!)
But, until recently, the Internet stayed online, and real life was on the other side of the fence. That’s what the Internet of Things addressed. By connecting real-life, tangible objects with the Internet, we open doors to greater possibilities.
Whenever you hear the word “smart”—from refrigerators to lightbulbs—that’s the Internet of Things. Adjusting your thermostat from your smartphone, Tweeting your friends when you hit 10,000 steps on your FitBit, checking into your conference with an RFID bracelet—it’s all possible with these “smart” Internet-connected devices.
There is a very important human side to the Internet of Things, and as today’s human resources departments prepare for the impact of IoT on the workforce, there are many questions that will need to be answered.
How does an organization truly engage a lightning fast and Internet of Things-connected human workforce? How can companies and employees benefit from the related data explosion created through the Internet of Things? How can the Internet of Things actually help support employee engagement? Ultimately, how can the Internet of Things become the Internet of people?
Generation Z and Data
Every day, the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (that’s 18 zeroes), and 90% of all the world’s data has been created in the past two years alone.
Not only will Generation Z create immense amounts of data, but all other generations will as well. And the key factor with this data is not how much there is but how it’s managed in an analytical sense.
In the future, while it will be important to have a resident data scientist on your team, it will be just as important to have analytical minds throughout your organization to help make sense of all of your data.
This is where Generation Z will shine—recruiting for these positions will be fierce, as every company will be on the prowl to find the best and brightest data professionals.
Put technology and the enormous feed of data created by integrated systems to work for you. Capture and make sense of the data through insightful measurement and analytics solutions that help you understand how your people are performing, where the gaps may lie and how you can help them improve and develop along their career path.
Connect the dots by understanding how performance, career, wellness, social and community initiatives are taking shape and how they affect employee wellbeing and corporate culture overall. By better understanding the data, organizations can create an opportunity to boost employee engagement by reinforcing purpose, improving satisfaction, driving productivity, reducing turnover and promoting a culture of recognition.
Also, seek scalable technology solutions that allow you to build upon your existing program. This allows for seamless integration and limited program interruption so you can keep momentum going as you continually add the type of value your employees crave.
Generation Z is coming into your workforce in immense numbers, and being able to appeal to this generation’s diversity, technical prowess and entrepreneurial attitude is key to retention and recruitment.
How will your company react?