The Consumer-Workers of the Future of Work


The change in the mindset and behavior of the new generation workforce has a major impact on the HR policies and systems in an organization. Technological progress, increased connectivity, social media, information sharing via a multiple set of devices, physical movements across geographical borders etc are responsible for giving rise to a segment of workers who are very different from the workers of the past.

They have needs and desires which are different; hence their expectations from employers, their behavior in relation to work and to employers, their way of working are also very different. Thus if organizations wish to employ this new generation of workers, they have to understand what they want, what they expect, and how they wish to work and then tailor their HR policies and procedures to encompass this. They cannot remain stuck in the past with outdated and outmoded HR practices.

Workers think of themselves as customers

The character of employees or workers has changed over time. Earlier, they worked for the organization, received their salaries, bonuses, perks in return and went home happy. They were employees and saw themselves as employees. Today’s workers think of themselves as customers of the company. This is something that companies have to get used to in the future of work. Since they see themselves as customers, they have demand and expectations right from the start of their association with organizations i.e. from when they start looking for jobs, through recruitment, initiation, working with the company. As long as they are happy with what they get, they stay with the organization. If they feel disappointed or shortchanged, they quit and look for something more to their liking.

Today’s consumer workers – whether they are shopping for products and services or looking for jobs – want a total value proposition,  not just a suitable price or an acceptable paycheck.  They want personalized experiences with products and services and personalized career planning and assignments and work experiences in the office. They are entrepreneurs and innovators who want to contribute and add value to the organization and they want to be appreciated for what they do.  They want to be able to exercise their choice in both cases – when buying products and services and at the workplace. They respect transparency and integrity. They will stay loyal as long as they feel involved and engaged. Otherwise they will up and move to the next product, service or job.

Woo and retain internal customers

Organizations, in particular the HR departments, have to thus reorient their thinking and create conditions that are conducive for the new consumer worker. HR has to woo and retain internal customers just as marketing woos and retains external ones. Today’s technology has to be harnessed to attract and retain talented, creative innovative workers.

SMAC solutions (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) vibe with the new generation of workers. They use these in their personal lives to connect with one another or to do their own work. If organizations can also incorporate these to deal with workers, it would make it easier for both parties – these youngsters are willing to work anywhere at any time and technology allows them to do this. So if companies are flexible and offer them work conditions that suit their temperament and expectations and help them balance their personal and professional lives, then these workers will become a major asset to the organizations that work with them. The use of high-end technology and constant connectivity and information sharing will ensure high rates of contribution from today’s consumer workers.