People Analytics in the Future of Work: Catering to Millennials and Generations X, Y, and Z

How should companies bridge the generational gaps in the workforce starting with Generation Z – a population who prefers to communicate through screens, immerse themselves in virtual realities, and learning through TikTok influencers?

Article Response to: The Reinvention of Company Work Culture

A Millennial Teacher observing the Gen Z classroom

As a millennial in the field of public education, I often question if my students will be prepared for the new future of work. To give an idea about who sits in my classroom: Piper Sandler reported that 68% of surveyed Gen Z teens spend 4.2 hours per day on social media and 68% of them identify as gamers. iPhone ownership rates among teenagers are the highest in history. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z are more willing to use new communication channels like text/sms, live chat, and social media than the average consumer (TikTok leading as their favorite app, followed by Snapchat, and Instagram). How should companies bridge the generational gaps in the workforce starting with Generation Z – a population who prefers to communicate through screens, immerse themselves in virtual realities, and learning through TikTok influencers?

Taking Stock With Teens: 21+ Years Of Researching U.S. Teens GenZ Insights, 
Piper Sandler Spring Report 2022

The Great ReShuffle: Enter Millenial and Generation Z 

A report by LinkedIn Global Talent Trends shows a paradox of perception versus reality. Generation Z actually wants a workplace culture built on mental health and wellness, rather than a life full of content and likes. They want empathetic leaders, accessible mental health services, and heavy use of people analytics to identify problems and spur action in support of employee well-being. With the recent Covid-19 pandemic, historical inflation, The Great Resignation, and advancement of automation, companies now need to adjust to waves of Millennials and Generation Z’ers entering the workforce, or what experts call The Great Reshuffle. With people analytics, companies can now obtain data points to measure productivity and build better strategies, so that teams can move more efficiently despite the generational gap.

Case: U-Work Across Generations

With ongoing advancement of technology in AI and ML, we now know better than ever what types of support that will engage and retain employees in the workplace. For example, Unilever’s U-Work program tailors employee experience at different stages of their life, whether they are a factory manager who wants to coach younger employees, a working mom who needs work-life balance, and a recent graduate who prioritizes entrepreneurship and travel. People analytics can now help companies cater to individual employee needs whether it’s incentives, fulfillment, or flexibility in the workplace.

Conclusion: People Analytics Inform not Drive Company Culture

The LinkedIn Global Trends 2022 report that candidates are more conscious about a company culture that resonates with them. Experts now label this new workforce era “human-centered company culture.” Although analytics seem like a magic bullet, let us not forget that behind the numbers, the algorithms, and the charts, lie the human touch of bias and agency. It starts with leaders who listen to their employees, and employees who trust their leaders.

LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2022


Hiring Data Scientists in Football – Where are the Best People for People Analytics?


Optimizing Return-to-Office Strategies with Organizational Network Analysis:

Student comments on People Analytics in the Future of Work: Catering to Millennials and Generations X, Y, and Z

  1. This is a great article and felt very relevant as I have recently been helping my younger sister (who is Gen Z) with recruiting for her first job, as she graduates from undergrad this June. I have certainly noticed a difference in the things that she looks for in a future employer, and to the point you mention above, she and her peers speak much more openly about mental health and wellness and see it as something to prioritize. I like the idea that people analytics could be used to help employers cater to the needs of employees at various stages of their career – taking into account personal situations such as new parents, or employees who want the variety of work-related travel. I do wonder if there are concerns to using data in this way, as if an employer tackles this from the wrong angle they may end up perpetuating stereotypes and biases across social groups, ages and genders within their employee base. As ever, this application of people analytics seems like it will require a delicate balance of pushing forward the use cases of the data, while maintaining a cautious approach to data privacy, equity and inclusion, and being transparent with employees about the ways in which their data is being used.
    Thanks for sharing – this was an interesting topic to read about!

  2. Interesting article!! Managing and leading diversified workforces is definitely one of the key challenges that managers need to overcome and if people analytics can be a strong tool to support managers, it will be an essential skill set for managers!
    To build on your point, as the life expectancy is expected to continue increasing on average, managers will need to manage and lead not just gen Z but also oldies like the 60s, which will increase the level of complexity of management further. I sincerely hope that we can reinforce the DE&I work environment with people analytics.

  3. This is something I hadn’t thought about but extremely important – I can imagine that the content of what future people analytics teams study may evolve as the objectives of companies shift slightly to emphasize different values reflecting newer waves of employees; the Unilever’s U-Work case is great – I wonder how the wave of different people analytics platforms with pre-set capabilities would increase or decrease a company’s flexibility to implement this type of program.

  4. What an interesting summary of this issue and possible solutions. Often when people talk about the future of work I think about things like automation and working from home–but reading this made me realize that those trends may also be contending with generational forces as well. Younger generations seems to be seeking strong culture, connection, and support in their workplaces, something that might actually be counter to the drive for automation and flexible work. I especially found it interesting reading about Unilever’s U-Work program. I think this is a really cool function of AI, to be able to provide flexible incentive structures for people throughout their careers rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. This could be a really powerful tool moving forward, especially as the new generation of work force enters the fold looking to be seen and supported.

Leave a comment