By Adam Reynolds the new CEO of webexpenses
Today’s workforce is comprised of four cohorts – Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Each of them brings its own specific qualities and insights to the business environment – without them we’d lack the ideas and imagination to drive our organisations forward. Whatever the generation, all have had different experiences that can be utilised in a business environment.
At present, Generation Y’s star is very much in the ascendant, they are the generational cohort born somewhere between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Not only are they considered the most educated and most diverse generation in history, open to sharing their ideas and opinions whilst hungry to learn, they are also the first generation that has never known a world without the internet, mobile phones, social media, or digital apps. In fact, this group has had its whole experience of the world shaped by technology and is now bringing that experience into the world of work.
Understanding the role of technology in the workplace and the impact it has on the way Generation Y works is vital. Deloitte recently dubbed Generation Y ‘a hidden powerhouse of employee potential – vital to drive global business in tough times, future-oriented, ready to contribute now, and opportunity-driven’. With this in mind, UK businesses need to harness the potential of these so called ‘digital-natives’ in order to bring about positive change in their organisations.
Firstly Generation Y’s expectations for technology in the workplace are high. They are looking for employers who are tech savvy and ideally, at the cutting edge in their use of technology. At the same time they have high aspirations for themselves; they’re always aiming to work faster and more efficiently. It’s this mentality that is no doubt driving some businesses to harness the benefits of technology in their work places.
What’s more, Generation Y is the ‘mobile generation’. Again their behaviours are starting to influence the workplace for the better. Their intuitive use of mobile apps has helped to revolutionised the work place – bringing other generations up-to-date with them. By improving access to information, supporting the streamlining of internal processes, and giving staff a greater ability to multi-task on the move, the workplace has been moved towards giving staff a greater work/life balance. This is certainly something which webexpenses has been witness to and encouraged over the last few years with the explosion we’ve seen in the tech market.
Thanks to improvements in cloud computing and telecommunication technology, we have the luxury of working anywhere, everywhere and at any time of day, hopping onto our laptops, tablets or smartphone, and fitting work around other commitments. This used to be the exception, but is fast becoming the rule, largely driven by Generation Y.
Take office expenses for instance. This largely arduous and labour intensive process is just one of the latest areas to come under the influence of Generation Y – especially where its need for quick and ready data is concerned.
The next generation of software, as developed by companies like webexpenses, is already helping organisations and their employees save money and time. Gone are the days when staff had to spend time keeping track of receipts and seeking approval in person from the financial department of their organisation. New apps allow staff to simply photograph a receipt and submit a claim instantly. Staff no longer have to keep track of lots of paper work, claims can be submitted on the move and finance departments are armed with the data they need to track and police expenses in real time.
Generation Y are having a profound influence on UK businesses and redefining the future of the workplace. By bringing their love and knowledge of technology into the workplace they are shaping the way businesses operate for the better.
With this in mind, UK businesses should seek to embrace the knowledge and attributes of all members of their workforce, regardless of which generational cohort they belong to. However, to dismiss Generation Y and the behaviours, knowledge and experience it brings to the table, would be to severely limit the longevity of a business – particularly as members of this group will be the business leaders of tomorrow.