Boomers? Buh bye.
Gen X? Gone – checking their 401K balances and investing in long-term nursing care options.
Millennials? Busy packing participation trophies in their second rental locker and googling “where to get botox for my butt?”
Gen Z (or C)? Heads down, checking Snapchat to block their Gen Y parents (yeah Gen Y and Millennials ARE that freaking old! Get over the Millennial shaming!)
But hang on. We’re not done yet. I’m here to drop some more generational malpractice on you.
Something you’re probably already behind on and it could have huge implications for your business. There is another generation stepping into the spotlight you need to focus on and understand how they will force you to change organization structure, recruiting policies, benefits and security systems like never before. Side note, unfortunately, it will also spawn a new “generation” (see what I did there) of gurus and thought leadership patent medicine shows.
Generation Alpha – 2 Billion in 2025
Say hello to Generation Alpha – or Gen A as us hipper-than-you demographic ninjas like to call them.
Gen A is going to be huge! And they will be truly different than anything you’ve had to deal with in the workplace before.
If you thought Millennials were self-absorbed just wait. If you thought Gen Z was a connected generation you ain’t seen nothing yet. If you thought Boomers were cranky you are gonna love Gen A!
So, what do you HR folks have to worry about NOW to take advantage of Gen A? Well, pay attention to experts (like me). We got the skinny on it.
- First – there will be 2 billion people in the Generation Alpha cohort by 2025 – that’s billion with a “B” baby! Got room for them? Probably not. Teleworking will definitely be on your agenda since many won’t be able to drive until 2029. Do you have enough bike racks at your offices? What about crossing guards?
- Gen A is growing at a rate of 2.5 million per week. PER WEEK! Do you have the bandwidth to process that many employees? I’m guessing no. Maybe some HR AI or MI will be needed to manage that kind of population. I hear AI is also popular with gurus and ninjas.
- You thought Millennials were connected? Gen A will have iPads attached to their pacifiers. They swipe mirrors and big screens trying to change the channel and get a new app to download.
- But ALL technology isn’t good for them. They won’t have the fine motor skills needed to type or push the smaller buttons on phones currently in use for a few years yet. Expect tech to get bigger again to make it easier for Gen A to use it.
- Flex-time and 24-hour cafeterias are a must. Most Gen As will have to eat at least every 2-4 hours at first. They do eventually move to a normal eating schedule but at first it’s an always-on proposition.
- Good news is that you won’t need fridges stocked with energy drinks and sugary snacks. That won’t be needed. Gen A has energy to spare. But, you will need a boat-load more “quiet” rooms for afternoon naps. Gen A tire out in the afternoon and without a good nap they could demand union representation. They do get cranky.
- Gen A will be hella loyal though. Probably to a fault. First, they can’t cross the street on their own and they aren’t old enough to enter into job contracts, so they will probably stay with you until they can start to sign contracts. They may wander, but like cats, they always come back to where their food and bed is.
- Recruiting will need to change. Like I said – they aren’t old enough to sign contracts so if you want to get the best Gen As – follow the lead of college sports recruiters… get in with the parents (they’re prolly Millennials, so use Instagram with the Juno or Gingham filters – they’re hot hot hot.) Also, make recruiting a competition and award badges. Millennials love that crap. They all think their kids are the best!
- Every member of Gen A thinks they are a celebrity. They’ve been on camera since they were born, and their parents have basically taken a picture and posted every single one of their life events on Facebook. (Google – “Kevin’s first potty chair” – yeah – there’s a pic out there.) How do you make them celebrities in your workplace? Will they demand their own photo “wall?” #ProTip: No potty chair pics. A) Ew and B) #CanYouSayHarveyWeinstein
- Gen A will affect your onboarding. If you have more than one person to onboard in a day, you’ll have to find some rope and tie them all together by their belt loops or backpacks to keep everyone together. Gen A tend to follow whatever is shiny and noisy.
- If we are living in the age of cybersecurity, Gen A will usher in the age of physical security. Stairs, elevators, closets, drawers, cabinets – all need security and special hooks and locks. Don’t underestimate Gen A ingenuity. They can get into anything!
Gen A – The Cutest Generation
Jump on board now because, like generations before them, the cuteness wears off. They stop asking why and start asking “why not?” They quickly go from looking for gum and candy in your purse, to stealing cash and your Sig Sauer P238 from it. They are only Gen A for a short while and you must take advantage of their malleability when you can.
Trust me. It is never too early to talk about, pander to, create fake news around and create impressive webinars for the next Generation. Heck, I’m working on stuff for Generation Beta which will start around 2031. I’ll post on them soon, but right now they are kinda in two different places and I’m not sure when they will come together. I will start hanging around singles bars in the 2030s and give you my report on their needs then. I’m guessing it will be pre-natal vitamins, dill pickles, ice cream, and canned cheese on powdered donuts.
But seriously. Gen A is gonna be big and you can’t be too early to start creating a wave of unimportant and unverifiable generational stereotypes.
Get out there and start genrational-ing!
Paul Hebert is Vice President of Individual Performance Strategy at Creative Group Inc, writer, speaker and consultant. Paul focuses on influencing behaviors and driving business results through employees, channel partners and consumers. He is dedicated to creating true emotional connections often overlooked in our automated, tech-enabled world. Using proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology he has driven extraordinary company performance for his clients. Paul is widely considered an expert on motivation, incentives, and engagement.