Generation Y emerged during a technological revolution that has profoundly changed the relationship between individuals and companies.
Work has become both a creative experience and an environment fostering social links. The new generations build bridges between their private and professional lives. Work itself is integrated into their lifestyle. This poses a number of challenges for companies concerning data and system security, but also opportunities for fertilisation, diversity and new forms of risk-taking.
Work and the company are considered as a life experience, perceived from a societal point of view. The company’s values are fundamental in this context. Concrete action by its executives is also important. The new generations reject the traditional dissociation between the individual and the worker inherited from the Fordist concept of industry. Contrary to popular belief regarding a lack of commitment among young people, this generation wants to invest fully in work.
The new generations are intuitively ‘redesigning’ the company matrix.
Their foremost requirement is to find an open, agile enterprise encouraging multiple affinities both internally and externally.The connected generations seek to belong to hybrid, non-exclusive communities, either durable or ephemeral. Companies have to understand that the scope for value creation now extends beyond their own boundaries.
The second requirement is a more horizontal organisation, where relations are personalised and company structure determined by its capacity to ‘transform the real’ and enable quick decision-making.
Mass individualisation, the new challenge for companies in the digital economy, is expected in the same way by its employees. The obligation to achieve a particular result is replacing the obligation to employ one’s best efforts, and the new generations want to be able to measure the impact of their work. The leader is replacing the old figure of the boss. Leadership is no longer permanent; it can only be maintained if the individuals concerned approve and regularly validate it. The new generations are bringing democracy into the company.
Lastly, the connected generations are those of ‘native empowerment’. Individuals want to regain control of their own destinies. Former generations wanted to place humans at the core of the system. The new generations automatically flee any organisation that is not structured around the individual. They champion autonomy, manage their own careers and are not content to remain in a situation where they are learning nothing new. A company’s centre of gravity now lies with the individuals working within it: their commitment, knowledge, creativity and communities.
This article by Matthieu Fouquet can be found in the Journal TNS Sofres