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Innovation in the workplace: catering for the digital workforce

By: Bob Bailkoski, CEO of Logicalis

The workforce has changed more in the last two years than it has done over the previous two decades. The unstoppable rise of remote working, combined with the structural change of a younger, digitally native workforce climbing up corporate hierarchies, has required businesses to approach work differently.

By 2025, Gen Z will account for approximately 27% of the workforce. Inevitably a new demographic cohort brings with it new demands and expectations. A recent report has found that Gen Z cite a good work-life balance, ethical leadership, and demonstrable diversity and inclusion practices, as crucial considerations when choosing an employer, with concern for employee well-being sitting firmly at the top of their list.

Such are Gen Zs numbers and growing influence that businesses need to rethink their day-to-day operations to cater to Gen Zs attitudes and aspirations towards the working world.

A new attitude to work

Over the last few years, the way we work, and the way people view work, has been altered. Gen Z tends to see jobs as time-limited projects in which to build their skills. Once they feel that the project is done, they move to a new job, especially if they are limited in growth opportunities or feel that the business no longer aligns with their values. They are comfortable using the job market to progress rather than staying within a corporate culture and waiting for an opportunity.

The watchword is empowerment. This new generation of employees needs a hybrid workplace where they feel empowered to use their skills to the best of their ability and contribute to a business’s overall success.

Leveraging native skillsets

The skills that organisations need today are very different to what they needed a decade ago, and this will continue to change as digital transformation projects reshape industries. Businesses need Coders, DevOps Engineers and App Developers, workers familiar with harnessing AI and Machine Learning while working in an agile manner – all skills that are inherently part of the Millennial and Gen Z skillsets.

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As a result, businesses must ensure they appeal to this rising generation of workers. As digital natives they have implicit skillsets and, by attracting the younger generation, companies will avoid facing a specific skills shortage that could leave them falling behind the competition.

Creating a digital workplace for the digital generation

Organisations need to start using the tools that align with their employees’ skillsets. Almost all (90%)of new UK jobs now require digital skills, so why not create a workplace that caters for the digital generation?

Businesses need to take a more flexible approach and downplay the ‘command and control’ structure that was such a hallmark of corporate cultures. Organisations that adopt employee-centric ways of working will attract these new workers and avoid losing out to competitors.

Flexible, hybrid working methods are a critical feature for the younger generations. Organisations should enable safe working practices from anywhere globally, making a seamless contribution and effective collaboration, no matter where employees reside, a rule rather than an exception.

Room to thrive and grow

Providing a truly digital workplace is key to making the most of the upcoming generation’s skillsets and providing them with a culture of innovation to help them thrive. Retaining talented employees will be one of the most significant challenges of the next decade. Still, if a business can keep up with the pace of digital transformation, provide an environment where the digital natives can flourish and listen carefully to employee sentiment, it can become more than just a waypoint on Gen Zs increasingly peripatetic career paths.

Offering flexibility and modern methods that chime with a new generation’s values will increasingly be the key to driving talent attraction and retention and ultimately ensuring business success.

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