Are the expectations of how technology should shape the future of the workplace similar across generations? How can the workplace be designed to integrate differing expectations for optimal recruitment, retention, development and performance across levels and geographies? As the nature of work and the workplace evolves, both leaders and employees need to be engaged in bringing about a transformation that is productive, healthy and inclusive.
New research from Universum, INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, The HEAD Foundation and MIT Leadership Center sets out to investigate these ideas from a bottom-up survey of students and professionals – not from the employer’s perspective. What do your employees think about the future of work? What innovations do they expect their employers to adopt? What will the rising student cohorts of Gen Y and Gen Z look for in a future employer?
And how do these ideas differ based on country or gender? “Technological innovations are reshaping just about everything in our world today and the workplace is no exception. Cloud-based collaboration tools, workplace messaging platforms, wearable technologies, virtual reality, and so on, have changed the meaning of going to work”. Said Henrik Bresman, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior; Academic Director, INSEAD Global Leadership Centre; Senior Advisor, The HEAD Foundation. He continued “more and more, employees expect work applications to function as effortlessly and effectively as the applications they use in their personal lives, and even while working professionals say their employer’s digital capabilities are important, our collaborative research shows that less than half believe their current employer’s capabilities rank highly”.
The results are a one-of-a-kind study of what global generations think about employers and the workplace – a research series from Universum called Generations. These insights are based on an annual survey of over 18,000 students and professionals worldwide – from Gen Xers who’ve been in the workplace for two decades, to Gen Z students. The research sheds light on preferred workstyles, Leadership qualities, hopes and fears about future careers, and the technologies with the highest potential for workplace innovation. What’s more, the research points to interesting insights and lessons not just meant for understanding individual generations, but for knowing how to manage a multigenerational workforce.
“Employees and their managers now expect more flexibility of time and venue. Constant connectivity leading to real time information and feedback is the norm, as is the management of virtual teams across increasingly globalized organizations.” Said Vinika D. Rao, Executive Director of INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute. She continued “given the rapid pace of change in workplace technology – from cloud-based collaboration tools and workplace messaging platforms to newer technologies like wearables – it’s clear the nature of work in 10 years will be vastly different from what we experience today.”