Digitalisation in the new normal: Empowering Generation Z and Millennials to Deliver Change

July 2022

Empowering Generation Z and Millennials to Deliver Change

This research explores the impact of digitalisation on Generation Y ('Millennials') and Generation Z as change agents in the workplace and society in a post-pandemic environment. Primary research was undertaken with a sample of 200 Gen Y and Gen Z from the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway to explore 24 themes relevant to their workplace and brand requirements and activities.  

The themes build on the results of ongoing cohort research commencing in 2010 and extending into, during and after the pandemic. The themes are topical and include factors affecting how these cohorts select a workplace; how they wish to be managed; their technology preferences; factors spurring their exit from an organisation; their expectation on brand engagement, and others. These two cohorts are continuing to facilitate digital and organisational transformation, influencing brands, workplaces and other cohorts, empowered by accelerated digitalisation and expectations that are defining the new normal. 

Multiple themes are assessed relevant to Gen Y and Gen Z in a post-pandemic environment by ‘peeling the layers’ of cohort behaviour to provide relevant insights into the influence of digitalisation on their attitudes and preferences towards work and brands.  

The research highlights that Gen Z and younger Gen Y are the locus of digitally induced change, with a shift observed in the technology preferences of these cohorts over the decade preceding the pandemic. A key message emerging is the need for accelerated digital transformation by brands and organisations to meet Gen Y and Gen Z expectations. These cohorts display a lack of tolerance for latency in communication, a frustration with legacy solutions, the inability to expediently source information, and ‘apathy’ with brands that fail to provide appropriate digital engagement modes. As ‘crisis measures’ continue to abate following the pandemic, hybrid working, work-life balance and an emphasis on well-being have become ingrained in the new normal.  

An end-state is unlikely to emerge soon but rather, the ‘current state’ is likely to be an evolving milieu spurred by flexible technology and changing organisational processes by more adaptable entities. The demands of Gen Y and Gen Z are contributing to this change as their requirements become codified into the domains in which they work and live.

The key message for organisations and brands seeking to survive and thrive post-pandemic is clear: in the new normal, ignoring Gen Y and Gen Z is not an option.