Next-generational mobility for the multi-generational workplace

Rachele Focardi, Founder of XYZ@Work, shares how organisations can build the workforce of the future through Next Generation Mobility.
By: | February 28, 2023

With most organisations undergoing transformation, diversity of thought, skills, experience, and mindset has become an imperative to drive innovation and value. However, attracting, engaging and retaining the right people has never been more challenging.

The pandemic has led to a rapid paradigm shift in how we define work: employees across all age groups are now re-evaluating their lives and priorities, and many are leaving — or planning to leave — their employer in favour of organisations that enable their sense of purpose, provide greater flexibility, and give them the opportunity to redefine and (re-)align their career path to their interests, passions, and desired lifestyle.

According to the 2022 XYZ@Work Post-Pandemic Workplace Study, only 39% of employees want to stay with their current employer and career path. 15% want a different employer within the same industry, 12% want to change industry, 13% want to relocate to a new city/country, 12% want to stay with their current employer but on a different career path, 11% want to pursue further education, 10% want to start their own business, and 9% want to take a sabbatical.

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“To design a future-proof career mobility programme, organisations will need a paradigm shift that considers the multifaceted needs and context of the modern workforce.” Rachele Focardi is Founder of XYZ@Work

This means great innovation is needed when it comes to career mobility. If employers want to build a solid workforce with the enthusiasm, skills and mindset needed to drive their business into the future, they will have to place more emphasis on skills and competencies versus traditional educational qualifications, and offer flexibility, purpose and multi-directional/multi-dimensional career paths.

Just a few years ago, career mobility was exclusively vertical. Organisations would compete by providing accelerated path to management for exceptionally talented individuals, and some would offer selected talent the opportunity to explore the world by expatriating them every few years. As a result, leaving an employer instead of having to figure out the politics and hidden barriers around moving up or across internally has long been a reality — especially for younger generations.

Now, everyone wants flexibility. 64% of employees say hybrid is the ideal working arrangement, and 25% want the opportunity to work fully remotely from anywhere. Purpose has also taken centre stage; 25% of employees now want to realign their career to a greater purpose. Besides millennials or Gen Zs, many Gen Xs and baby boomers are looking for career pivot opportunities that will lead to learning, new ventures and impact-driven roles.

Some employers are starting to think about their relationship with talent as a continuum, allowing employees to move and come back. Giving employees the chance to gain work experience with other organisations or industries allows them to pick up skills that are hard to come by in the industry, and that they can then bring back.

What does all this mean for Next Generation Mobility? First and foremost, it will involve more job-hopping and exploration of different opportunities, as well as a greater focus on career development and self-improvement.

Organisations will have to design paths that are not vertical or one-directional, facilitating movement of employees into new roles with speed and fluidity without slowing down their careers, but also allowing them to work with greater flexibility, and to contribute to “the greater good” by working on high impact projects that strongly align to the causes they feel most passionate about.

This will require a strong understanding of the multi-generational workforce. Only by addressing the different generational needs and priorities, will companies be able to create tailored policies and programmes and more importantly, an internal mobility culture that is inclusive and accommodating to all employees. And the plus side is that greater flexibility and purpose leads to positive impact on mental health, which in turn leads to greater productivity, stronger team collaboration, more engagement and greater innovation.

Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain. To design a future-proof career mobility programme, organisations will need a paradigm shift that considers the multifaceted needs and context of the modern workforce. This can only happen by co-designing across silos, working across organisations, and experimenting to create innovative programmes that maximise career satisfaction and organisational performance for the better.

To help us better understand how different generations define purpose and what organisations can do to enable their employees’ sense of purpose, we invite you to participate in a survey as part of the Purpose & Generations@Work 2023 study and we look forward to sharing the key findings with you soon.

About the Author: Rachele Focardi is Founder of XYZ@Work, Leading Future of Work Strategist and Author. To find out more how you can build the workforce of the future through Next Generation Mobility, join Focardi at HR Tech Festival Asia 2023 on May 11 at 11.30am (SGT).