THE X FACTOR
A convergence of generation and personality
When we overlay these generational groups in a simple matrix, nuanced archetypes emerge. Some of these profiles have been transformed by the Covid-19 experience, exaggerating their characteristics and requiring even more of the employer seeking to harness their expertise. But the employer that can unlock their potential will be rewarded with previously unrealized abilities, energy, and commitment.
EMPLOYEE ARCHETYPE 1
According to Forbes, “If you want your organization to stay ahead of the competition, then it’s critical to foster a culture of innovation.”1 Given the accelerating rate of change and intensity of competition across markets and industries, innovation has effectively become a core requirement for any company seeking to survive, let alone thrive. Addressing the workplace needs of the innovator is a needle-mover for employers hoping to capture coveted talent and develop game-changing products, services, tools or methodologies. The innovator archetype tends to be introverted, but is capable of extroversion when required for collaboration or brainstorming. They also tend to be independent and prefer to work alone as and when they feel inspired to do so, and can be resentful of perceived micromanagement or rigidity in workplace structures. Successful innovators build a foundation of collaboration around micro-interactions that occur in the workplace, but also need the ability to quickly pivot to concentration work in a quiet space when and as needed. Working remotely can recapture the time lost to commuting or being in a physical office and is a great option to facilitate the innovator’s productivity - as well as their work/life balance, which is also critical for this archetype to function at optimal levels.
“Research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shown successful innovators build a foundation of trust around micro-interactions that occur in the workplace. And the Allen Curve shows that if you don’t see someone face to face, you don’t collaborate with them.”
Program director at Oxford Cyber Futures
EMPLOYEE ARCHETYPE 2
The lonely employee
Feeling alone ranks alongside smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity in terms of measurable negative effects on one’s mental and physical health. The statistics on the loneliness epidemic, especially amongst young people (Millennials and Generation Z) were disturbing before the pandemic and grew worse during the subsequent quarantine. According to a nationwide survey performed by global health service company Cigna, America is currently undergoing a “loneliness epidemic” with almost 50% of participants feeling lonely, and with Generation Z as the loneliest generation compared to other age demographics. An astonishing 43% of participants responded that they sometimes or always feel isolated from others. They also feel that their relationships are not meaningful. Additionally, 27% of respondents rarely or never feel as though there are people that really understand and connect with them. Only 53% of survey participants felt that they have meaningful in-person social interactions on a daily basis. Researchers are attributing these figures to the current lifestyle trends – more and more people are focusing on work, living farther away from loved ones, and relying on social media interactions as opposed to organic, face-to-face interactions. As a result, real and meaningful relationships have become superfluous and isolation has peaked. Employers that offer a dynamic, engaging corporate hub (as opposed to a traditional, corporate office) that is activated with employee programming in a space designed for all can not only attract these lonely workers, but can measurably improve their outlook, provide them a sense of connection, and enhance their productivity. As an employee, you can rely on your workplace to connect you with others and facilitate a sense of belonging. It’s a win/ win for both the employee and the employer.
"In-person connections are what really matters. Sharing that time to have a meaningful interaction and a meaningful conversation, to share our lives with others is important to help us mitigate and minimize loneliness.“
Chief Medical Officer for behavioral health at Cigna
EMPLOYEE ARCHETYPE 3
The disengaged employee
Human Resources Group found that only 36% of employees are actively engaged in the workplace, which means that some 64% of all employees are disengaged. Similarly, Gallup found that the percentage of workers who are "actively disengaged" -- those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues – is at its lowest level in 2020 (13%). This makes the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers 2.7-to-1, the highest ever in Gallup tracking. The remaining 52% of workers are in the "not engaged" category -- those who are psychologically unattached to their work and company and who put time, but not energy or passion, into their work. Not-engaged employees will usually show up to work and contribute the minimum required. They are also on the lookout for better employment opportunities. This group is full of insightful, valuable employees with unrealized and untapped potential. If an employer can provide the optimal working environment, these employees can re-engage and produce substantive value. A workplace of choice - with a variety of options for working remotely and in the office - can enable the previously engaged employee to re-engage in ways that work for them.
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