With Gen Z (those born in the mid ‘90s or later) poised to enter the workforce, we will soon have five generations in the workplace for the first time ever. According to global research commissioned by Dell Technologies, Gen Z could make up 20 percent of the workforce by 2020. For organizations like Dell, this means we must prepare for how they will reshape the way we work.
More than 80 percent of those surveyed aspire to work with cutting-edge technology and more than a third are interested in technology careers. As digital natives, Gen Z enters the workforce with a deep understanding of how technology can improve the ways we work and live. We can leverage this tech-first mentality to advance our own digital transformation.
The Dell Digital Way Encompasses All Generations
At Dell, cross-functional teams of developers, designers and product managers, help all generations find common ground. We foster an agile culture that collaborates directly with the business to design, develop and deliver new products and capabilities. This approach — called the Dell Digital Way — creates balanced teams that learn, share, make decisions, innovate and own business outcomes together.
To create space for a changing workforce, Dell is remodeling offices around the world to improve, comfort, flexibility and collaboration. With more than half of those surveyed preferring to go to a workplace versus working from home, Gen Z is eager for more human interaction. Our upgraded state-of-the-art, collaborative workspaces also complement our culture shift. Having technical team members sit with business partners increases their engagement and understanding of our customers allowing for teams to plan, code and iterate new applications in real time.
The Strategic Role of Our IT Team
All generations are demanding more of their workplace technology. For Gen Z it’s highly influential in their job choice when considering similar employment offers. Dell has evolved the strategic role of our IT team from focusing on IT hygiene and reactive break fixes to providing modern, mobile, collaborative tools and services to deliver a work environment that allows users to be connected and productive 24/7 whenever and wherever they are.
Cultural and generational, IT Transformation requires an investment in professional development to make it real. Gen Z places a high value on the ability to learn new technologies and have new experiences. Organizations that provide continuous technical on-the-job training and embrace fresh perspectives like Extreme Programming methodologies will advance their digital transformations as well as be more attractive to prospective employees. As part of activating our balanced team approach, Dell has included more than 200 business partners in workshops to activate the Dell Digital Way. To further nurture our talent, Dell has established an AI Center of Excellence (COE) to bring our data science talent together to tackle cross-functional use cases as well as nurture their skills. To date the COE has hosted two hackathons, bringing regional data science teams together to generate models that solve business problems. Employee engagement scores reflect the investments we’ve made through year over year increases in satisfaction.
Mentor or Be Mentored
Eager to share their technical know-how, Gen Z will inspire innovation among all generations in the workforce. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed are willing to be technology mentors to others on the job. With “Mentor and Be Mentored” as their prevailing attitude, these digital natives can significantly enhance the skills, views and perspectives of other generations in the workplace, while continually developing their own skills and learning from their more seasoned colleagues. Dell’s recently hired graduates affirm this mentality: Dell Digital’s team focus is invaluable to their success and job satisfaction. Participating in paired programming, cross-team interactions and teaming around lean principles allows them to add value while learning in a short amount of time.
Bottom line, one more generation in the workforce will continue to diversify perspectives, increase innovation and drive digital transformation. Are you ready for Gen Z?