Nigel Stott: Workplace Transformation and the Next Generation Employee

Exploring the place of technology in the next gen’ers mindset and the impact on business, Nigel Stott believes the management style of leaders is central to future success and must adapt quickly to support and fully utilise the skillset of Generation Z…

I once thought that technology was the only thing having a big impact on the workplace, states Nigel Stott. I have now come to realise that’s not strictly true. Generation Z (those born between 1996 and 2010) are beginning to filter into the workplace and changing the very fabric of the business across the world. As the first truly digital generation we would expect them to place a huge emphasis on putting technology at the heart of everything they do, right?

Well, no – that’s not strictly true.

Whilst our new co-workers don’t remember a world without the internet and smartphones, they’ve also witnessed turmoil for their parents during the financial crisis that started in 2008. This means they place a huge value on financial security and whilst entrepreneurial, are more likely to seek out job security as a priority. They’re switched on to social issues and are keen to make a real difference by taking action. Technology helps them distribute that message but they see it as a tool to help them instigate real change.

72% of Generation Z place a significant emphasis on face to face communication. Being isolated from their colleagues for long periods of time isn’t at the top of their “to-do” list. However, that being said – they still crave flexibility when it’s needed. Gen Z will seek a balanced lifestyle and feel like they can book a dentist appointment mid-afternoon without feeling they’re being judged for their absence.

Collaboration and regular feedback is also important for them – the spaces businesses create for this new generation of staff should be open to encourage collaboration. The simple things, like superfast Wi-Fi that we take for granted at home needs to be available throughout our workplace.

To support Generation Z, I think the management style of leaders will need to quickly adapt. Setting clear objectives that can be easily measured will be important. Consistently achieving great outcomes for the business will become less important than how they are achieved. The way leaders communicate with their employees will also need to change. The privacy of apps like WhatsApp will be used to form micro-communities within organisations, where people can speak openly about the issues that concern them.

When it comes to technology businesses will be challenged by Generation Z. This generation won’t wait for technology to be mandated by the business. They will take the lead and utilise the cloud services and apps that work to achieve the best outcomes for them. Businesses will need to mitigate these risks by providing detailed education on data security whilst balancing this with the freedom for their workforce to choose their own tools.

We live in an exciting times and I for one, am looking forward to working alongside Generation Z.

Nigel Stott

Nigel Stott

Hudgell Solicitors
In 2001 Nigel entered the legal IT industry working for Clarion Solicitors, becoming IT Director in 2007 until leaving the firm in 2015. Since then, Nigel has held various roles both in-house and on the supplier side. His main focus is ensuring law firms achieve value from their technology investments and delivering complex IT initiatives. Nigel is currently Head of IT at Hudgell Solicitors and lives in Leeds, West Yorkshire.