Gen Z, Gen Alpha, and Gen AI: Meet the New Workforce

4 min read

May 06, 2024

The kids are all right — at least, that’s what business leaders hope as Generation Z and Generation Alpha start to take their place in the workforce. As boomers retire and millennials move into senior roles, the new generations are setting the standard for the future of work.

These young employees, whose formative years were marked by COVID-19, come to work with very different expectations and values than their predecessors. They’re passionate and tech-savvy, but their remote experience means they may have missed out on opportunities to build foundational skills and professional relationships in the same way as their more experienced colleagues.

They’re also the first generations to have grown up with constant access to the internet, and the youngest members of Generation Alpha won’t remember a time before generative artificial intelligence (AI). The growing prominence of AI and unified communications and collaboration technology in the workplace will play a key role in their professional experience.

Who Are Gen Z and Gen Alpha?

Gen Z is defined as those born between 1995 and 2012, meaning the oldest are starting in their careers, and the youngest are in middle school. Meanwhile, Alphas’ birthdays range from 2013 to 2025, meaning the newest generation members haven’t even been born yet, and the oldest are beginning to pick up summer jobs.

By the end of 2024, Gen Z will outnumber boomers in the workforce and are poised to overtake millennials by 2040. By the end of 2025, there will be two billion Alphas, making them the largest generation in history.

Gen Zers and Alphas are digital natives — they’ve grown up alongside smartphones and tablets. They’ve always had information and communications tools at their fingertips and are incredibly comfortable experimenting with AI and the latest technology.

Their value-driven work style is greatly influenced by their childhood experiences. They’re highly aware of the environment and social justice. Driven by a sense of purpose, they’re more likely to take control of their careers, frequently switching companies or working multiple part-time roles to get the flexibility they desire.

The Impact of Gen Z and Gen Alpha on the Work Landscape

As more and more members of Gen Z enter the workforce, they struggle to reconcile their expectations of work with those of their employers. Companies have concerns about Gen Z’s experience, professionalism, and work ethic, with 36% of hiring managers admitting to age bias regarding their youngest hires.

Years of remote school and work indeed mean Gen Z may have some catching up to do when it comes to navigating the work landscape. However, professional language and business dress — once the office staples — are no longer the status quo in the new workplace. The new approach to work is a little more personal and less traditional. Video conferences have become much more informal over the last few years, and other communications tools like team chats make work seem more like an extension of their everyday lives.

After spending so much formative time online, Gen Z is looking to gain experience in the physical office. In fact, 74% prefer a hybrid schedule, and only 11% prefer to stay completely remote. They’re looking forward to experiences that can’t be replicated online, like in-person collaboration, mentorship, and office culture.

Despite their managers’ concerns, 64% of Gen Zers say they like their jobs, and 81% believe they’re good workers. Their casual attitudes belie their passion and resilience, and a lifetime on social media means they’re the most well-connected generation yet. The future Gen Z (and Alpha to come) workforce will be tightly knit, socially driven, and technologically advanced.

While their older colleagues had to learn how to text, the new generations were practically born with phones in their hands. They may not know how to send a fax, but Gen Z and Gen Alpha are experts in the virtual realm. They’re comfortable (if not eager) to work remotely, switching seamlessly from group chat to video calls as they collaborate across platforms.

Although leaders may be concerned about hiring Gen Zers and Alphas, they should embrace their strengths. Given the right tools and the room to grow, these new tech-savvy and purpose-driven employees have the potential to propel businesses into the future.

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Generative AI, Meet Generation AI

Each generation has adopted new technology as it was developed: Boomers had touch-tone phones, Gen Xers always had a PDA in their hands, and millennials are rarely caught without their smartphones. Gen Z and Gen Alpha will be known for generative AI.

Growing up alongside the rapid development of AI, Gen Zers and Alphas are uniquely positioned to leverage this technology in innovative ways. They’re already more predisposed to using AI than other generations. Seventy percent of Gen Z reports using generative AI, while 52% believe it can help them make informed decisions.

Adopting, not resisting, generative AI is critical for new employees, whose entry-level jobs are often seen as prime fodder for AI replacements. Instead, younger generations are integrating AI into their workflows, using it to automate tasks, rapidly analyze data, and even as a virtual collaborator.

Integrating AI into unified communications and collaboration solutions like MiCollab and MiTeam enhances the work experiences and capabilities of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, providing them with user-friendly interfaces, on-the-go connectivity, and third-party integration. For new employees working in customer assistance, AI is an indispensable part of the call center experience, offering features like:

  • Virtual agents to manage basic customer inquiries.
  • Agent assist to keep important information at employees’ fingertips.
  • Interaction analysis to monitor client sentiment in real-time.
  • Automated scheduling to balance the workload and ensure peak times are covered.

As native AI and communications technology users, the new workers are already primed to employ these tools in their daily workflows.

3 Ways to Prepare for the Future Workforce

As Gen Z and Gen Alpha begin their careers, organizations must develop strategies to set them up for success. To attract these younger generations, take advantage of their unique strengths, and turn them into a sophisticated, productive workforce, companies should take these three steps:

1. Embrace Flexible Work Options

Gen Zers and Alphas value work-life balance and the ability to work on their terms. Businesses can attract and retain top young talent by embracing flexible schedules, remote or hybrid work models, and providing in-person collaboration opportunities.

2. Invest in Digital Tools and AI Integration

Generations Z and Alpha have grown up in a digital-first world, and companies should invest in robust, unified communications and collaboration platforms to meet their technological expectations. Features like AI capabilities, calendar integration, document management, and text-to-speech can enhance remote or hybrid work, streamline digital collaboration, and boost productivity.

3. Promote a Sense of Purpose

Younger generations value work that aligns with their values and has a positive social impact. Companies should focus on cultivating a workplace culture that emphasizes purpose, social responsibility, and opportunities for meaningful contributions.

By embracing tools and approaches that play to the younger generations’ skills and values, organizations will prepare their newest employees for successful careers and future-proof their operations. Your newest employees are tech-savvy and ready to get to work.

Learn how your organization can prepare for the future with an AI, a unified communications and collaboration platform, and other next-gen tools.

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