By Gabriele Indrieri, VP & Managing Director for SAP Concur EMEA South
By 2030 it is forecast that Gen Z will be the largest workforce demographic, with Gen Alpha beginning their career journeys. It is for this reason that SAP Concur has published a whitepaper – Preparing for Gen Z and Gen Alpha: How Younger Generations Will Change Business Travel and Expense Management – to help travel managers and company leaders level-set on how travel & expense (T&) operations may need to adjust going forward.
Gabriele Indrieri, VP & Managing Director for SAP Concur EMEA South outlines three of the biggest changes that organizations can expect in the years ahead, based on this leading research into the characteristics and expectations of these cohorts:
- Technology is a bare necessity: Gen Z and Gen Alpha have grown up in a digital landscape, which is shaping their technology preferences and expectations. With this in mind, companies need to stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced, ever-evolving digital world to ensure employee retention while remaining productive and profitable.
With lightning-fast internet, smartphones, and mobile applications being the norm today, this will likely shape worker’s communication preferences now and into the future. This is reflected by research commissioned by LivePerson which reveals that 65% of Gen Z respondents prefer to communicate digitally rather than in person. In addition, a survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that 75% of Gen Z prefers mobile as their device of choice. As a result, each generation and its preferred communication methods have led to shorter, more frequent, and more direct contact between employees.
- Personalization is king in a digital world: Technology is likely to shape Gen Z’s expectations of personalization, including how their company and leaders approach development opportunities and career pathing. According to Deloitte, employers will need to understand the behaviors and tendencies of a generation that expects much more personalization in how they are treated by their employer.
- Sustainability takes centre stage:Sustainability is a top priority for younger generations, with research released by Deloitte revealing that 77% of Gen Z respondents believe that it’s important that their company’s values aligning with their own. As a result, the private sector is facing growing pressure from millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha to drive sustainability efforts forward.
This complements the findings of the 2022 SAP Concur Global Business Travel Survey which reported that almost 100% of Gen Z respondents said they planned to take steps to reduce their environmental impact during business travel in the next 12 months.
Therefore, businesses are establishing realistic and targeted goals, taking measurable actions, and driving quantifiable results to minimize their environmental impact. Doing good for the planet can be good for business, and this trend is likely to continue with greater emphasis as younger generations enter the workforce.
The whitepaper reveals that T&E best practices will be shaped by the impacts of Gen Z and Gen Alpha’s technology preferences, communication styles, and sustainability expectations. “Companies need to adopt the latest technologies and establish measurable sustainability goals to attract and retain talent. As such, T&E leaders should start discussions with their business operations partners, office management, and other company leadership to level-set on where things stand and how T&E operations may need to change going forward,” concludes Indrieri.