Move over Gen Z – Generation Alpha will soon be knocking on the workplace door!

Set to be the largest generation to date (it is predicted that there will be over 2 billion of them globally!), Gen Alpha are the children who will be born to predominantly Millennial parents between the years of 2010-2024.

This is also a time when we have seen continuous technological strides, the increasing adoption of AI, and the dawn of the metaverse, so it wouldn’t be surprising to assume that their expectations of the working world will be vastly different to the ones previous generations have grown up with.

Now, at the turn of the century, the author Douglas Adams offered a set of rules about these kinds of change which I would like to apply to this new generation of talent:

  1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
  2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
  3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

So, what might this tell us about the expectations of Alphas as they enter the workplace – and what we should be building into our evolving People strategies?

  • They will learn digitally – this next generation of kids include the ‘Covid-kids’, and because the majority of them had to go through school during the pandemic, they have had early access to learning online. With some schools still continuing this hybrid learning, and nearly a third of university courses adopting it, this will see a digitally native generation like never before. While we’ve seen some growing pains as hybrid and remote working styles continue to gain popularity, these new workers will likely thrive working remotely, as they are already well accustomed to it. Therefore, they will most likely be attracted to jobs that offer this flexibility, as it will be entirely familiar to them.
  • They will specialise earlier – due to their access to technology, Gen Alpha will find themselves being able to specialise earlier and heading into more niche jobs – some of which don’t even exist yet. It’s likely companies will be seeing a rise in jobs like drone pilots, user experience managers, life simplifiers, and virtual reality engineers as this new generation herald in a new technological age. From this perspective, innovation will be at the heart of these young people, and so employers who can create opportunities to job craft are going to be very attractive to this new wave of workers. It is also thought that they will have a significant lack of engagement with deskless jobs, and these hands-on careers will likely be less attractive to a generation who have grown up with automation and assistance at their fingertips.
  • Digital networking – Growing up with social media means that Gen Alpha are the most interconnected generation to ever have existed. 65% of them aged 8-11 either own or have access to a mobile phone, as well have having designated messaging apps to communicate with each other, such as Roblox chat and Messenger Kids. Another survey found that 43% of them preferred to speak to their friends online over the weekend instead of see them in person, so it isn’t shocking to hear that this digital communication reliance will translate into the working world. They will want to network digitally and globally; the idea of working across time zones will be a desirable and normal one, as they are already very adapted to communication across the world. If companies can create the space for this globalised platform to take shape, the results could see different sectors of work combining to create new, innovative products not yet even thought of.
  • Virtual assistants – research has found that Generation Alpha started speaking with their smart devices at the age of six. It will come as no surprise then to discover that they will most likely expect to have a virtual assistant of some sort when they start working. Growing up with Alexa, Siri, and Cortana to answer their questions and conduct their ‘admin’ tasks will create an expectation to have access to this assistance in the workplace. The Work 2035 Report reflects this notion, as it found that by 2035, 83% of professionals believed that technology will automate repetitive low-value tasks, freeing up time for Alphas to focus on more meaningful and skilled work.
  • Recognition will retain – it is more than likely that validation and affirmation will be a driving force for Gen Alphas. After growing up with social media and having digital validation drilled into them, a company’s recognition and rewards strategies are going to play a huge part in retaining key Alpha talent.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and Sustainability – these are going to be the driving forces for attracting future talent. As we’ve already seen with Gen Z, those growing up now are going to be well versed in being socially conscious, moral, and understanding the long-term effects of climate change. This will mean that an organization’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda will be more important than ever, as Alphas will be looking at what organizations are doing to better the planet. And from a DEI standpoint, as companies continue to see increasingly diversified C-suites and people in positions of power, the idea of having a diverse workforce will almost be a given to these young people. If employers are ensuring that these factors are being optimized, they will gain access to the top talent that the Alpha generation has to offer.

The evolution of the workplace has accelerated exponentially over the past few years. The structure of work has become much more elastic in nature, and it continues to evolve in all sorts of unexpected directions as time goes on.

The next generation of workers are set to make a huge impact in the working world, so if we start to prepare for them now, their assimilation and onboarding will be a smooth and productive process.

If you would like to discuss how to start planning and preparing your workplace for the generation to come, please get in touch with me:

Looming fears of a recession, as well as the effects from record high inflation rates, have seen a surge in layoffs over the last year. And while navigating the legalities and sensitivities that accompany laying off employees, employers also have to think about how they can effectively manage the ripple effects that these reductions to the force will have on their remaining team members.

If you are a company who finds themselves feeling the pinch and getting ready to downsize, there is a lot that will need to be considered. Having the proper HR support to help strategize with all the sensitivities that come with legal compliance, increased responsibilities, new leadership appointments, and anxiety over restructuring will ensure that your workforce remain informed, engaged and productive.

To do this, we divide the process of layoffs into three parts:

1. Executing the Layoff(s)

Conversations around layoffs are never easy, and it is important to approach them with as much care and compassion as possible. Employees may respond differently to this news, so it is important to know what to expect and how to respond appropriately. The legal implications then need to be considered: does the company offer a severance payment? Has the proper period of notice been given? Could this dismissal be at risk of infringing against a person’s right to not be discriminated against?

The legal compliance can be tricky, especially in the US. Aside from seven states, federal law says that a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) must be given to employees when a company has over 100 workers and is laying off 50 or more staff members during a 30 day period in a single location. There are some caveats to this, so it is important for organizations (especially larger ones) to know exactly what is expected of them to avoid any potential legal action, while also supporting their departing employee in every way they can and should be.

2. Communication Strategy

The period that directly follows a set of layoffs can be particularly sensitive, but with the right communication and planning strategies, this experience can be executed with delicacy and precision. Our biggest recommendation is transparency – with those remaining staff, leaders need to be open and honest about why these layoffs have taken place and how they are going to set the business up financially for the future.

This should then be followed up by highlighting the plan for moving forward, and taking care to ensure that each staff member understands if there have been any changes to their responsibilities and what support is available to help them adapt to those changes.

3. Supporting Your Remaining Employees

Speaking of available support, this is where employers need to be managing the potential long-term effects of layoffs. These can take shape in those employees who have absorbed the responsibilities of their departed colleagues, or those who have been placed in a new managerial role.

For the former, it is important to be clear about the new expectations of their role to avoid falling into the trap of ‘quiet promotions’. And to mitigate risk of burnout, ensure that these employees have a direct report who they can go to if they need support and further training to manage this increased workload. It is also very helpful to be able to offer a sense of how long they may have to do this, and whether or not it is for the time being until someone can be brought back on later down the line. Setting expectations is going to be key to keeping engagement and productivity levels up.

And for those who have been promoted to managerial roles, they may need to be rapidly upskilled to manage a group of people successfully. We would either align them with a coach, or facilitate training sessions on coaching, feedback, and performance development so that they feel prepared to manage and will do so effectively.

OrgShakers have a lot of experience in supporting clients through a layoff period, and so if you are an employer who finds themselves needing assistance in change management, please feel free to reach out to me at to discuss the services we can offer you.

Today is the Winter Solstice – the longest day and the official start of the coldest season of the year.

So, would it surprise you to know that in a couple of weeks’ time the Earth will be at the CLOSEST point in its orbit to the Sun? In other words, that we’re nearer to our fiery star in the chill of Winter and farthest away in the heat of Summer.

If it does you may, like me, be falling into the trap of so-called Northern Hemisphere Chauvinism, the same bias that assumes that North is ‘up’, and that Australia is ‘down under’ (where it is now, of course, summertime).

But this got me thinking – maybe we all need to turn things upside-down from time to time to understand them better.

This idea is particularly applicable to change management strategies. According to research by McKinsey, 70% of all change initiatives fail – and this is largely due to employee resistance (active or passive). So, maybe, the key to ensuring they succeed is by changing the way organizations are looking at change.

Imagine a change process as being like an iceberg. The new stuff – the end goal of the change – stands gleaming above the surface. Meanwhile, down below, are the existing processes and the people that implement them. And herein lies the problem – these things are below the surface, and all too often that is where they remain.

So, organizations need to flip the iceberg. To bring to the surface what lies beneath and focus on the employees that will be impacted by the changes.

But now ask yourself this: how many of the change initiatives within your organization have an HR presence on the project leadership team? My guess is that it won’t be many.

For me the case for challenging the way we approach change implementation is clear. And to make this happen we need to turn accepted thinking on its head. To put people ahead of processes and technology.

Now that may not be such a radical idea for the HR profession, but for many others it will be as counterintuitive as suggesting a world where the South Pole is at the top and sundials run anti-clockwise.

If you want to discuss the different approaches to managing change initiatives in your company, get in touch with me at or head over to our contact page.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

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