The Actionable Futurist® Podcast

S5 Episode 16: Mark McCrindle on Generational Impact, and AI’s impact on the future of work

May 27, 2023 Chief Futurist - The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill Season 5 Episode 16
S5 Episode 16: Mark McCrindle on Generational Impact, and AI’s impact on the future of work
The Actionable Futurist® Podcast
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The Actionable Futurist® Podcast
S5 Episode 16: Mark McCrindle on Generational Impact, and AI’s impact on the future of work
May 27, 2023 Season 5 Episode 16
Chief Futurist - The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill

Baby Boomers, Generation X, Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z and now Gen Alpha. Is it right to define whole generations with a letter, and are we all that different?

How can understanding generational differences pave the way for a successful future in the workforce, and how will Generative AI impact different generations?

To answer these questions and more, I spoke with Social Researcher Mark McCrindle, who has spent his career examining each generation and how technology and societal issues affect each type.

In this far-ranging discussion, we also covered:

  • Putting labels on generations
  • How technology impacts each generation
  • Technology adoption across the generations
  • Encouraging older generations to become digitally curious
  • Generational Impact on Workforce Dynamics
  • The Generations and the future of work
  • The impact of hybrid working in each generation.
  • Hybrid Work, Employee Experience
  • Where does wellness fit into the modern workplace?
  • The importance of “employee experience”
  • Future Employment Culture and Impact
  • The need for re-skilling the workforce
  • The impact of Generative AI on the workforce
  • Enterprise GPT impacts
  • Advice for leaders to attract and retain talent
  • What is the future of work and how do we get there?
  • Three actionable tips to better understand the changing workforce

If you want to understand how technology is likely to affect each generation and what is the future of work, then this episode is for you.

Join us as we discuss the generational impact of technology on society and the workplace with Mark McCrindle, founder and principal of McCrindle Research. Prepare to uncover insights into how generational labels define us, and the crucial role they play in shaping workforce dynamics.

We'll delve into the importance of bridging the gap between young and experienced employees, as well as the future of hybrid work and the significance of employee experience in retaining top talent. Learn how bringing together diverse generations within the workplace creates a level playing field, fosters understanding, and ultimately prepares organizations for the challenges ahead.

Mark shares his wisdom on the importance of fostering organizational culture and investing in training and development to attract, retain, and empower the best talent.

Don't miss this engaging conversation with Mark McCrindle, where we uncover the mysteries of generational impact, technology, and the future of work in a world of Generative AI.

More on Mark
Mark on LinkedIn
McCrindle Research


Your Host: Actionable Futurist® & Chief Futurist Andrew Grill
For more on Andrew - what he speaks about and recent talks, please visit ActionableFuturist.com

Andrew's Social Channels
Andrew on LinkedIn
@AndrewGrill on Twitter
@Andrew.Grill on Instagram
Keynote speeches here
Pre-order Andrew's upcoming book - Digitally Curious

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Baby Boomers, Generation X, Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z and now Gen Alpha. Is it right to define whole generations with a letter, and are we all that different?

How can understanding generational differences pave the way for a successful future in the workforce, and how will Generative AI impact different generations?

To answer these questions and more, I spoke with Social Researcher Mark McCrindle, who has spent his career examining each generation and how technology and societal issues affect each type.

In this far-ranging discussion, we also covered:

  • Putting labels on generations
  • How technology impacts each generation
  • Technology adoption across the generations
  • Encouraging older generations to become digitally curious
  • Generational Impact on Workforce Dynamics
  • The Generations and the future of work
  • The impact of hybrid working in each generation.
  • Hybrid Work, Employee Experience
  • Where does wellness fit into the modern workplace?
  • The importance of “employee experience”
  • Future Employment Culture and Impact
  • The need for re-skilling the workforce
  • The impact of Generative AI on the workforce
  • Enterprise GPT impacts
  • Advice for leaders to attract and retain talent
  • What is the future of work and how do we get there?
  • Three actionable tips to better understand the changing workforce

If you want to understand how technology is likely to affect each generation and what is the future of work, then this episode is for you.

Join us as we discuss the generational impact of technology on society and the workplace with Mark McCrindle, founder and principal of McCrindle Research. Prepare to uncover insights into how generational labels define us, and the crucial role they play in shaping workforce dynamics.

We'll delve into the importance of bridging the gap between young and experienced employees, as well as the future of hybrid work and the significance of employee experience in retaining top talent. Learn how bringing together diverse generations within the workplace creates a level playing field, fosters understanding, and ultimately prepares organizations for the challenges ahead.

Mark shares his wisdom on the importance of fostering organizational culture and investing in training and development to attract, retain, and empower the best talent.

Don't miss this engaging conversation with Mark McCrindle, where we uncover the mysteries of generational impact, technology, and the future of work in a world of Generative AI.

More on Mark
Mark on LinkedIn
McCrindle Research


Your Host: Actionable Futurist® & Chief Futurist Andrew Grill
For more on Andrew - what he speaks about and recent talks, please visit ActionableFuturist.com

Andrew's Social Channels
Andrew on LinkedIn
@AndrewGrill on Twitter
@Andrew.Grill on Instagram
Keynote speeches here
Pre-order Andrew's upcoming book - Digitally Curious

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Actionable Futurist podcast, a show all about the near-term future, with practical and actionable advice from a range of global experts to help you stay ahead of the curve. Every episode answers the question what's the future on, with voices and opinions that need to be heard. Your host is international keynote speaker and Actionable Futurist, andrew Grill.

Speaker 2:

My guest today is Mark MacRindle, founder and principal of MacRindle Research, a leading research-based advisory firm based in Australia. Mark works with the big brands, large organisations and senior leaders to help them understand the external environment in which they operate, gain visibility on the sentiment and perceptions of their customers and community and identify the emerging trends to assist them in future proofing their products and services. Welcome, Mark.

Speaker 3:

Thanks, andrew, great to be with you, we're surprised to talk to another Aussie.

Speaker 2:

We've had a few Aussies on the show, but they're few and far between, so thanks for staying up late to talk to us on the podcast.

Speaker 3:

Delighted to be here.

Speaker 2:

Now I've come across your research, just saying off air that I'm surprised we haven't met yet. I'm well aware of what you do and your name comes up a lot on my LinkedIn feed, but for those listening to the podcast and haven't heard about you, what does a social researcher do?

Speaker 3:

We analyse society in a broad sense. So everything from surveys to focus groups and in-depth interviews, to demographics and data analytics and all of those insights help us get a picture of context where we're at, the trends impact us and therefore where we're going. So that's really the role of a social researcher, and the application of that is to help organisations prepare for the future. Do their strategic planning engage with the customer or better understand and engage with their team? member.

Speaker 2:

So I'm an actionable futurist. I look at probably the short term future because a lot of my clients are saying how do I close the quarter? And for next year, how far are your horizons? that you look at in your research.

Speaker 3:

We look at generations, so that can be decades. We look at demographic trends that you can really stretch out over 50 years and be pretty sure of it, and in fact that's what a lot of our clients require. If you think about a local government as they move to planning, or a state or federal government as they look to maybe land release or developing schools or infrastructure that needs to last generations, and they need some pretty good insights now to work out what's going to be needed in 20 years so they're not caught short on the infrastructure. And demographics with an understanding of generational expectations provides a pretty good pathway to get there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the generational thing has always been a hot topic. I was a member of the Rotary Club of Sydney. We used to meet at the Wentworth Hotel and I was asked to give a speech one day about the future of Rotary because, as you're aware, the demographics of Rotary are probably on the older side. I'm not a social researcher, but I went back and looked at then the Baby Boomers, gen X, gen Y, and with that, probably 20 years ago, we've now got the different generations, you've got the Alphas, the Beaters, and maybe we'll go on to those. I'm fascinated. How did you get into this field? It's a very unique field to work in.

Speaker 3:

That's right. It wasn't a career advisor at school that directed me that way. I, after school, went off to university to study psychology, so that was my professional undergrad. But after that pathway I really preferred more the social psychology. You know how not individuals think, but how groups think, how societies organise themselves and how we can interact in communities, and so that moved me into this field of sociology, which is really a subset of that is, social research and analytics, and that's what I do today.

Speaker 2:

We label these generations. You know I'm Gen X. I'm not sure if you're X or Y. We have the Baby Boomers, millennials, alphas and Beaters. Is it fair to label people that broadly, with 25 year label, or are we going to run out of numbers and let it soon?

Speaker 3:

We are definitely more than just our generation, just as we're more than, you know, just our gender or just our nationality. Obviously there's a lot of variation within any of those categories than just to think of a homogeneous group. However, the generations are a pretty solid first place to start to understand customer segments or employment segments, because the generational segments are multifactorial. You know, they are a factor of our life stage And clearly people in their 20s are different to people in their 60s. They also define the times that shaped us.

Speaker 3:

So those of us Gen Xs, like you and me, we were shaped in the 1980s into the 90s. You know the generations today coming of age in the 21st century very different era And the events, the experiences, the technology that we all live through at different life stages are different. Even though we all share them, we don't all share them at the same life stages, particularly at those formative years. You know, in the age at which we're exposed to a new technology or transformative global event, that really does determine how embedded that will become in our psyche and our lifestyle and our behavior. And so that makes the generations different and a pretty good first place to start to understand our society and our communities, notwithstanding the difference within a generation.

Speaker 2:

I was reminded on the weekend when I was speaking to my parents and Adelaide of the fact that we've had different experiences as we've grown up. Dad has lived through one world war and polio. Mum reminded me that she's now seen two coronations, because she was alive for the first one and I've seen the second one. You mentioned technology and I'm a technology futurist. I'm absolutely fascinated about how technology impacts both business and society In the last generation the adoption of the internet, mobile technologies and AI. how has that impacted generations? I like to look at two different tribes in every organization the born digital and the going digital. I think that is a sweeping generalization, but I think their use of technology and their comfort levels with technology is very different. So maybe you could talk about how you've seen technology layering and impacting all the generations.

Speaker 3:

It has transformed us all, and technology has always been around, in whatever era you go to, but you just mentioned what I think are the three revolutions of our era. Firstly, the internet what a transformation that was accessing anything anywhere. And then the digital, as the internet came to our pockets and all the social media and the device transformation that that brought around. But now, with AI, that's the third of these digital revolutions, and while each of them has been significant to us and we've adapted to each of them as we have gone, the youngest generation have only ever known all of them. It's just the stuff of their world And so it's far more transformative for them than for us. They're more intuitive to it And, as you said, growing up digital, they are the digital integrators.

Speaker 3:

Generation Alpha is the very latest of these generations, born since 2010. So they were born the same year that Instagram launched And 2010 was the year that the iPad was released, and in the year 2010, that word app was launched, and so they've only ever known the world of the app and the device and social media And, of course, the connection through the digital platform. So they are far more embedded in this technological world than the rest of us, and they will use it as far more of a tool of transformation and a lifestyle tool than we will as well. And while we're all still getting our heads around generative AI that can create content in human forms, for them, it's just yet the next extension of what they've been using speaking to those smart speakers interacting in a world of driverless and automation And now it's just entered into every other software that they use.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we've got to remind ourselves that the Alphas and the Beaters they've grown up with the technology there. I was on a panel a few weeks ago about intellectual property in the metaverse and a bunch of lawyers, And we had to actually stop halfway through the panel And we actually said you know what? Everything we're talking about is not for us. Old children and their children absolutely get this. So while we're trying to grapple with how we'd live in the metaverse, I think these new generation are just going to embrace it. But, more importantly, they will find uses for it that they weren't even designed for. I think they're very able to adapt to a new type of technology. You're seeing that the speed of adoption is more pronounced with these new generations.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, definitely, there's far less intimidation of new technology. They're not the same barriers to entry for them. They integrate it seamlessly into their lives and they bring that entrepreneurial, innovative mindset to it. They look for the applications and, being at the cutting edge of age where they're adopting new technology at the stage of experimentation in life, moving from learning into earning, they're at the perfect cusp of integrating into this third revolution. I think, therefore, they'll use it very differently to how the rest of us will. They're not intimidated by it or pessimistic about it. They see technology of today, ai, like every other technology that's gone before. It'll be used for connection and human flourishing and engagement and the removal of drudgery, and they'll bring it to a new level.

Speaker 2:

I'm glad we're speaking today because the penny has just dropped. I've just made the connection. Most of my clients are mid to senior level and I try and encourage them to be digitally curious. I want them to experiment with technology. I did a session last week an all day session on Genitive AI and the pre-work was to get them to sign up and play with chat GPT. I'm glad they did, but you just hit the nail on the head The new generations when they're going from learning to earning, they're not afraid to play with it. They are naturally digitally curious. So while I have to sometimes drag my clients, begging them to play with new technology, this is in their DNA because they're allowed and they've given them a self-permission to experiment. I think that's a very different type of curiosity. Are you seeing that the younger people have that inbuilt digital curiosity and question for you how do we infect and I use that word deliberately infect the older generations to become digitally curious?

Speaker 3:

Great point And certainly they are doing that the younger generation. Firstly, they're global, so trends go around the world very quickly now through social media, but through their friendship networks, through where they're studying global. And obviously they're digital in terms of the platform. That's the go to for them. But that means they're visual. That's how they consume content. They look, they click, they play. They consume content in video form. They're also social, so they don't consume content alone, they create content. They take someone else's content and make it their own The duets on TikTok as an example of that And they're mobile, where they will work and study and live and travel far more of a global and mobile generation. So all of that comes together to create this perfect context for these new technologies and the speed of learning and uptake that they have.

Speaker 3:

But that's not to say that the rest of us can't use the technology. The great thing about it today is that it doesn't require coding. It's click and go, it's very simple, it's intuitive, it's user friendly And that means that the very oldest, as we know, with perhaps elderly parents and some listeners here grandparents they're connecting with them. They're finding that on the tablet or with the Zoom or whatever it may be. They're connecting with the oldest generation on the very latest technologies And therefore technology is being used to bridge generation gaps, not create them. To engage across diversity, rather than highlight those differences and making us less of a separated world and more of a globally integrated one.

Speaker 2:

Well, i have experienced that firsthand because I've been living away from my parents for a number of years. I live in a different country. I've lived here for 16 years and I'm a massive photographer. So I post on Instagram all day, every day my stories. In fact. Later I'm going to walk around Chelsea and look at all the flowers in bloom for the flower show and all the displays. I'll put them up on Instagram. And my parents in Adelaide independently worked out that I'm posting from Instagram to Facebook stories And, without me even teaching how to use it, they found Facebook stories. They now see my posts and dad, even overnight, has replied about something with epithy comments. They are seeing London through my eyes And when I speak to them regularly, they know what I've been doing. They've seen my photographs. They're able to experience my world through technology And I didn't even have to tell them how to do it. It was amazing that they sort of found this at their age and stage.

Speaker 3:

It's fantastic, and that's where technology empowers all of the generations, and what it means is that the future is not just for young people. We can all work later because we're in a knowledge economy. We can use the technology to remove drudgery or physicality from a workplace, so we will have people living longer, sure, and younger longer, but working later in life using technology, and therefore we're going to have more of those generations in the workplace interacting, and I think what that means is that we don't have to be hierarchical in the workplace. We don't have to be started by age group anymore. We will have young people learning from the experience of older ones, as has always happened, but we'll have older people learning and picking up tips from the younger ones, and I think that creates a new platform of interaction in the workplace more age diversity than ever, as we work later and longer, but, at the same time, less of those generation gaps, which has got to be a great thing for our teams.

Speaker 2:

I'm glad you said that, because one of the things I encourage my clients to do is bring those two tribes together in something like a hackathon And then what happens is the young people have a voice They can show the more experienced people this is how I use technology And the going digital basically go. I didn't know that's the way young people use this technology And it stares them in the face that here are two tribes in the same room playing this technology. I've had clients feedback, so I'm so glad we did that, because we never knew how different people thought And when you bring them together, there is an understanding as a level playing field. I think young people are intimidated. Or marks the CEO, i would never get to talk to him or her, but when you're in the same room and they go wow, i didn't know that it's a real leveler, isn't it?

Speaker 3:

Totally. It empowers young people, gives them a seat at the table, gives them a strength. And that's why we have now mentoring that's not just top down, that's actually reverse mentoring, where, sure, the older people pass on tips and experience to the younger ones and the younger ones engage and connect and pass on tips to the older generations, and that that bridges those gaps and, i think, equips all of us.

Speaker 2:

So let's look at the future of work and where generations are involved there. According to Deloitte, by 2025, millennials and Gen Z will make up 75% of the global workforce, and we keep hearing the workforce is changing, so where will these next gens fit in?

Speaker 3:

They continue to roll on through And so, as you said, we've moved through X and Y and now Generation Z entering the workforce, born since 1995.

Speaker 3:

So they're a key part of things now, but from 1995 to 2009, that's when the Gen Z's ended, and from 2010, generation Alpha, having got to the end of the Latin alphabet, we've moved to the Greek one and the Alphas and the B is moving through, and so they will be about 8% of the workforce by the end of this decade.

Speaker 3:

These Gen Alphas, they've only just hit the teenage years, but they're fast coming as well, and I think what this generational labeling and the generational insights helps us all understand is that actually, times keep moving forward and new cohorts keep coming through, and it's not just the world of us Gen X or any more.

Speaker 3:

In fact, there are more people at work now in your team or in mine in the average workforce, born since 1980 than all of us born before 1980. We sometimes think about millennials or Gen Z as the emerging generation, but they're the dominant generation, they're by far the majority, and that just helps keep us all, i think, a little bit perhaps circumspect in our role. Yes, we might bring some financial leverage, some experience leverage, some maybe authority leverage, but they bring the demographic power and, i think, the technology input as well, and that then just means we keep the door open to the next and we keep looking not just to how we were but where it's going, not just what we've always done, but open to those trends and changes by looking at the ever next generation coming through.

Speaker 2:

So the last three years or so have been quite impactful. We learned that we could work from home. We learned the technology was sustainable. I know in Australia, i know in the UK and in the US the companies that I deal with are still battling with this pendulum of do we want everyone to return to work? do we allow people to work from home some days of the week? Where are the generations being impacted by these decisions? Because I think one of the groups that missed out during the pandemic were the young people, the interns, that weren't able to observe how people got work done, being in a meeting room and being able to stand up and talk to someone. Where are you seeing the pendulum shifting and where do the generations fit in that, and are some more keen to be in the office or have the newfound freedom of working from home and that's the way going forward?

Speaker 3:

Well, that's exactly right, andrew. It is impacting the younger generations more than the older ones. The future of work will be hybrid. We've run consistent studies here and around the world on this and the majority of employees are saying that they actually want a mix. They want the flexibility of work from home, so we will have, to some extent, a scattered workforce, but they also need that human driver of connection, belonging, engagement. And if we look at workplace needs at the moment and into the future, what do we need more? We need innovation, we need adaptation, we need alignment and focus and connection and engagement, and that happens best when we gather, not just when we're scattered. So that means the future will be a mix of both. Yes, we'll have some days working from home, working remotely, but we will need some time gathered together so that we can have that alignment, that clear focus, the connection, when we have then filtered this preference down by generation, as you alluded, the generation the least likely to say let's all work from home at the very youngest.

Speaker 3:

Now for us, genexus, hey, if we worked from home for the rest of our life, we'd be okay with that, because probably we've got our social side sorted, we've got our kids, we've got a lot of things going on, we've learnt the ropes and we can probably get by pretty well from home.

Speaker 3:

But the younger generation need the learning. They need to pick up, almost without the planning, that almost unplanned interaction with people that just happens by chance. They need the shadowing or the mentoring, they need to learn the ropes, they need that social interaction, they need to develop the contacts and the network and they need to learn not just in a classroom but in a workplace, and so that's why they need to gather. And they're at the point in life where maybe they're living with parents, maybe they're on their own. They need that social and that happens these days in a workplace with a good culture and a flourishing environment. So the future for young and old will be gathered, but with some degree of flexibility, and I think we're going to need that to ensure every generation is looked after.

Speaker 2:

Depending on the company, and it seems like the more established companies in the finance sector that have lots of real estate in the big cities they want people to come back, so they justify the use of all this square feet that they've paid for. I heard an interesting phrase, and that's earn the commute. The workforce is saying yeah, if I'm going to come back into the office you need to earn it, because before I wasn't paying for all this travel, i had all this spare time I can go and drop the kids off. But I think you're right that sometimes people don't know what's good for them and they need to be brought together, to be gathered, to say I think you actually work better when you're together. But it brings me to another topic, that of wellness. I think we all suffered during the pandemic because we were at home and we were in different environments and we weren't able to gather and communicate and feel a sense of belonging. How does wellness fit into the modern workplace?

Speaker 3:

It's essential. And if we look at what's key to that mental well-being, one key aspect is belonging, the social interaction, the collegiality. You know we're less connected in our lives from other social bottlenecks. These days We probably don't know our neighbours. People rent and move more frequently. People aren't part of a community organisation. They may be not part of the Rotary Club that you mentioned, you know, when you were younger. Maybe they're not engaged with communities of faith or neighbourhood gatherings or volunteering at places. So where do we get community Belonging, connection, engagement, learning, contribution? It's the workplace. That's one key place. When we surveyed workers in Australia, we asked them what is the number one place that you're working, the number one place that you meet community needs on a regular basis? and it was the workplace. That's the place that they said they meet regular and meaningful social interaction. So that's why we need the gathering, that's why they commute And that does require leaders to facilitate that culture.

Speaker 3:

Sometimes the most important things aren't those meetings Now they matter and they're great Isn't the training? and that matters. Isn't the town hall where we can realign the values and the vision, and that's important as well. Perhaps not even just the collaboration meeting, where we're in a room with a whiteboard. Innovating It's sometimes the downtime, it's the lunch, it's the bump space, it's the interaction that just happens And that's why good leaders are bringing their teams back, not every day, but some part of the week, to ensure that they get that good stuff, and that's key. You know, at the very time that people move jobs more frequently, less connected in their geography and the neighbourhoods we are working on all of that And at the same time, that we've seen mental health decline And we don't need to professionalise everything and have people purely getting medical input on that. Some of it is good, old fashioned relationship, community and connection And the workplace has a role in that for the future of their teams.

Speaker 2:

Now, one term you talk about in your research is employee experience. What does that mean in practice and why is it important?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's so key because that's a factor of retention these days. So we ran a lot of studies in the lead up to writing a book called Work Well Being, and a year of this research we found that it's that employee experience, it's that interaction, it's the intangibles that are so key when it comes to either staying with the company or even starting with the company. It's that workplace culture. We found three aspects that are so key People now looking to organizations that have a clear purpose.

Speaker 3:

So they're looking for meaningful work, impacts in what they do, creating difference in their work, knowing that it's got a real purpose, and that's that purpose piece. They're, secondly, looking for culture, so a place of belonging and interaction. We've discussed that a bit. But thirdly, now if you've got a company that's got a real good purpose that you align with, the culture is great. You feel part of things.

Speaker 3:

You also want to know that your day to day input is having an impact. You're making a dent, you're having a difference towards that purpose that exists. And when we get all three of those clear mission or purpose, great culture of belonging and you're having impacts and those wins are celebrated, that ticks all of the boxes. Now, yes, we have to get remuneration right. Yes, we've got to get the flexibility right. Yes, there's a greed to which career progression and training and all of that matters, but it's actually those three things that culture, purpose and impact that are core And that's what people will even take a slight salary downturn compared to what they could be getting across the road if they're getting those things And it certainly keeps people in the role longer.

Speaker 2:

So one thing we want to be doing is meaningful work, not just for the sake of it, writing reports, going to meetings. How do you define meaningful work and can it be measured?

Speaker 3:

It can be And we have run some studies in this regard And it comes down to people finding that what they do firstly resonates with their own values, so that's part of the meaningfulness. Secondly, they feel it makes a difference in the world around them. Now that world might be the world of the customer, it might be the world of the patient or client, it might be the world of their colleagues if they're in a support role, perhaps it's in the world more broadly, but they want to know that it is having some impact there. We looked at the Australian workforce and we found that the largest sector of employment and it's true around many countries now is no longer the manufacturing sector. We've seen declines there. It's no longer the retail sector, as that's become more casualized. It's the not-for-profit sector Largest sector in Australia by employment count.

Speaker 3:

One in 10 Australians works in a not-for-profit charity community organisation, sometimes those large non-profit entities, social enterprises, etc. Why is that? Because chances are they could earn more at a commercial place than an off-for-profit, but they're choosing it for the impacts, for the difference making, for the meaningful work. So that tells us a lot about the reprioritisation and even more since the pandemic, as people pause life, reflect it on their situation and realise that disruptions can come, that you can't plan on the future, that it's not just about saving for that retirement nest egg. You've got to enjoy the journey and feel that you're making the most of each day. That has furthered that focus on meaningful work and impacts.

Speaker 2:

Now, one phrase that I learnt first time during the pandemic was presentinism. Is it still a thing, and how should it be managed?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, certainly needs to be managed, and I think some of what we've discussed is the antidote to that.

Speaker 3:

Do we want people on the team who are not motivated, who don't resonate with what we're about? I think a lot of the reason for the presentinism comes to the feet of the leaders. They're not articulating their purpose, they're not clear on mission, they're not engaging with the team, they're not putting the right people in the right areas, they're not offering those meaningful job descriptions, they're not perhaps giving the rewards and feedbacks to the team, and all of that therefore means that people are plugging in and clocking out, doing the time, and not really feeling they're making a difference. We found in our research we wrote it in our book on work well-being that, yeah, for some, sure, work is simply a job, but for so many more it's a lifeline to purpose, meaning and social interaction. And they're the ones we want, they're the ones to keep and they're not interested in presentinism. In fact, if they're not really engaged in the job, even if it's got job security and remuneration, they'll look for something better.

Speaker 2:

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, over 50% of all employers will require reskilling. What areas do you think they'll need reskilling in, and who pays for this?

Speaker 3:

Anything that can be automated will be Anything that is so procedural and structured and can be outsourced to technology. That's the way it's going to go. Nothing new with this. We've seen it through history and it'll continue into the future. So what we need to do is be at the point where we can add value and, in fact, be in a space where automation is not the best. So if we're just giving repackaging things, we're giving information, we're doing something repetitive, chances are it can be replaced. We've seen.

Speaker 3:

When we, I'm sure, began our careers, there were whole fields of receptionists and secretaries and support stuff. That's all gone because AI technology has allowed us to do it ourselves. However, technology is not great at interacting with people, at thinking through complex problems, at being innovative, at building bridges and connecting across diversity. In other words, the soft skills, as though one's called the people skills, the creative thinking, the communication skills, the leadership, the engagement skills. That turns out to be the non-outsourcible stuff. Only humans can do that well, and that's where we ought to invest. So if we're adding value, engaging with people, communicating and leading, chances are that's going to be a safe area, And if it does mean that we can pass on some of our roles, like writing the job description or developing some of that content, or perhaps doing a repetitive summary of some long paper to AI, all the better. It'll frees up to do the higher order of evaluating things.

Speaker 2:

The last few months I've been speaking to a number of AI experts on the podcast and most of them have been published so people can have a listen to them And I've really challenged my own thinking.

Speaker 2:

So I agree with you that the repetitive jobs will be replaced by AI, and that's happened throughout the ages. But that then means that, as you said, we'll have more time for that creative element, the human element, the creative thinking. But the challenge is not everyone is a creative thinker. I would like to think I'm fairly creative. I'm going to edit this podcast during the week. I'm going to add some flair to it. I've taught myself how to do that. But the reason some people go into certain jobs is because of their background, their propensity, their education. So if we can't all be creative thinkers, what do we retrain those people that don't want to think creatively? Is there still a role for people who find creative thinking doesn't come naturally?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, definitely. And you know, when we think about creative thinking, often we're thinking almost in an artistic sense. But of course scientists are creative thinkers. They're looking at problems in new ways and finding solutions. And you would say that a lot of the deep thinkers are creative, even though they think in a philosophical or structured way. The great teachers, you know, the great communicators, are all creative, because what worked in the past may not engage today. What connected with Generation X may not speak the language of Generation Z. So we all, by that nature, have to continue to adapt and reinvent and repurpose And I think in the broad sense we call that creative or innovation. But yeah, we're all going to need some level of that. It doesn't mean that we all need to have the freedom to be artistic, but but even in those structured areas, i think we can't do what we did yesterday and think it's going to get a result tomorrow.

Speaker 2:

So we've mentioned AI a couple of times and we can't mention AI without mentioning generative AI and, in particular, chat GPT, and I'm sure you were surprised what happened last November that this burst onto the scene. First of all, what was your reaction to generative AI systems like chat, gpt, and how do you think they will impact the generations, because we now have AI literally at our fingertips?

Speaker 3:

I was impressed to see how user friendly it was, how quickly it emerged on the scene and the fact that it was free and available for all. But I also noticed, and even with the latest version of it, a lot of errors. And it's certainly improving, But it's something that we ought not fully trust at this point. In terms of the accuracy, the quality of the content and even how it positions content, it doesn't have the same nuance. It doesn't think like a person in terms of knowing the lay of the land, whether that be politically or socially, or having the etiquette or having to put complex things in delicate ways. It perhaps can't do that.

Speaker 3:

I think, therefore, we need, as we approach any source of content these days, a degree of skepticism, a degree of the ability to push back into question And indeed the ability to take content, whether it comes from an internet search or chat GPT, and really add that next layer of the human insight. And I think maybe people will, for simple purposes and simple tasks, just grab what a chat GPT presents. But I think if we really want to add value and bring it to the next level, people will see through it. I think we need to bring that human element into it.

Speaker 2:

I would like, in chat GPT to an always on enthusiastic intern. You would always check their work before you go over to a client. So I think chat GPT and other tools like that are great. first drafts They save some time. I think, though, the real power of generative AI is when it goes into the enterprise. Let's fast forward five years, probably even three years, when a bank, a credit union, a financial telco has loaded all of their data into enterprise GPT. It's something you can trust because it's been trained properly. It has all the nuances. How do you think work will change when I can ask my enterprise AI a question that would take two or three hours, maybe two or three weeks to resolve, and it can do it in seconds? How will that change the workforce going forward?

Speaker 3:

Well, that's where the gold is, andrew, exactly right. Because now it's dealing with a data set. That is guaranteed And what you're using it for is to distill that down, find links, look for insights, identify patterns. That is usable. We use that.

Speaker 3:

Now We've got an AI function that we've developed for our analysis of focus groups.

Speaker 3:

So if you can imagine an hour and a half focus group, thousands of words and hundreds of pages often of script or content after we've done a few focus groups And we need to find one of the key themes and who's saying what and what are the links there and what's the sentiment is a positive or negative towards this concept or product?

Speaker 3:

And that's where the AI functionality really comes into its own. Maybe for some organizations taking their full big data set and it's trying to identify those patterns or those insights. Maybe it's looking at a long history of data and looking at historical measures. Maybe it's taking data and overlaying that with other insights, like demographics or perhaps like geo mapping, to find out where we're getting these patterns and what it means. So that's where the gold comes, because now we've got quality information and we're using the technology to save the drudgery of a human going through all of that transcript or data to find the patterns. A technology can do it quicker than we can And in a lot of ways find more links than we can, and then we can take it and use it for those actionable purposes.

Speaker 2:

So what would be your advice for leaders today to attract and retain the best talent?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's having the right culture, it's been clear on the purpose and it's celebrating those impact. You know those That, that cpi that i was discussing earlier. If we get that culture, purpose and impact right, that'll make a difference. I think that we want to develop people. You wanna make sure that they're growing. We found in our research that nine in ten people say they'll stay with their employer if offered training, development by their employer. We've got a young generation that are hungry to learn and grow.

Speaker 3:

The other classroom stuff isn't doing it and it's the on the job stuff that's really going to help. They're gonna want to remain future proofed and that comes through ongoing learning as well. So if we can input into them sometimes you in the job, it might be a bit of a plug in up skill I'm externally, but but offer that ongoing training. And finally, i would say as leaders that facilitate The culture of the organizational interactions. It doesn't just happen by itself. It all does come back to the lead up. Can we lead by example. Ensure that the places Thriving in terms of interactions create some of those moments or bump spaces where there's going to be that interaction, to make sure that people feel included, they belong, to have the social interactions and that's meaningful in terms of team work coming together to achieve those tasks.

Speaker 2:

So you're a social researcher. you got all the answers for sixty four million dollar question what's the future work and how do we get there?

Speaker 3:

Future work is a very strong one. You know, all of this talk of I'm cutting down the week or maybe even universal basic incomes because we get technology to do the work and we won't have to, that's not gonna happen because it's not what the human psyche looks for. We are designed to create, to contribute, to add value, to make a difference. We are designed to work and and we want to now, hopefully not working in areas of drudgery and and work that baby where we can see those impacts, as we said, but work nonetheless.

Speaker 3:

And work doesn't just mean employment. I mean we're gonna live longer. Not everyone is just gonna be employed all of those years. In fact, we know that some of the greatest contributions of our life comes in those parenting years, when we plug out of work and we're raising kids, or maybe when we've finished the paid work and we take out of that. But we're volunteering and retirees Still working and contributing even though they may not be employed. So it's redefining what work is. A lot of people do work as they volunteer on boards or as they make contributions or mentor. So it's it's work is not just employment, work that makes a difference and work that brings the best out of us and others. That's the future of work in the right context and social culture. It'll be here for millennia to come.

Speaker 2:

So we're almost out of time right to my favorite part of the show, the quick fire round.

Speaker 3:

We learn more about our guests iPhone or Android, iphone window or I'll window in the room or in the metaverse definitely in the room your biggest hope for this year and next that I can continue to grow this team here, not just in size but in impacts, to make a difference.

Speaker 3:

I wish that I could do all of my laundry, the app you use most on your phone at the moment probably weather best advice you've ever received from an old theologian who wrote make as much as you can and save as much as you can, so that you can give as much as you can.

Speaker 2:

What are you reading at?

Speaker 3:

the moment I'm reading a book called the checklist manifesto, by a tall, grand way who should I invite next on to the podcast. probably one of my colleagues actually feels pretty good next generation and so Get all of these insights, but with a millennial lens and how do you want to be remembered? as someone who use the gifts they have and the opportunity they had stewarded them for greater and lasting impacts.

Speaker 2:

Now, as this is, the actionable future is podcast. what three actionable things should our audience do today when it comes to better understanding the needs of the changing workforce?

Speaker 3:

Firstly, to get a bit of an understanding of the demographics they have in their teams. You know the generations, because that's going to guide what they do. Secondly, to hopefully get a sense as to what each of them looking for. It will be different across those generations of demographics, whether that's done through discussions or one time survey, but get the insights. So understand the team you know, get the insights. And then, thirdly, communicate the direction. People don't want to just contribute to yet another staff survey or still sentiment. They want to know they're being listened to and that actions will flow from that. So communicate back to the team the impacts and the direction for greater engagement mark, how can people find out more about you and your work?

Speaker 3:

Well, a lot of information and these reports freely accessible on our website and that's mcrandlecom, som double C R I N D L E dot com. they can get the reports and books and indeed connect through our socials on there as well.

Speaker 2:

Mark a fascinating discussion. I've learned a lot, i've been challenged. I'm a happy gen X.

Speaker 3:

Thanks so much for your time thanks, andrew, it's been great to chat with you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to the actionable futurist podcast. You can find all of our previous shows at actionable futurist dot com And if you like what you've heard on the show, please consider subscribing via your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can find out more about Andrew and how he helps corporates navigate a disruptive digital world, with keynote speeches and C sweet workshops delivered in person or virtually at actionable futurist dot com. Until next time, this has been the actionable futurist podcast.

What does a social researcher do?
Mark’s path into social research
Is it fair to put labels on generations?
Generations are factors of our life stage
How technology impacts each generation
Generation Alpha born 2010
Technology adoption across the generations
Encouraging older generations to become digitally curious
Generational Impact on Workforce Dynamics
The generations and the future of work
The impact of hybrid working in each generation.
Hybrid Work, Employee Experience
Where does wellness fit into the modern workplace?
The importance of “employee experience”
Future Employment Culture and Impact
The need for “meaningful work”
Is “presenteeism” still a factor?
The need for re-skilling the workforce
Are there still roles for people who aren’t creative thinkers?
The impact of Generative AI on the workforce
Enterprise GPT impacts
AI and Future Workforce Insights
Advice for leaders to attract and retain talent
What is the future of work and how do we get there?
Quickfire round
Three actionable tips to better understand the changing workforce
Contacting Mark