As technology continues to influence how people live, there have been inevitable influences on the workforce. One result of global digital transformation is the introduction of BETAs into the workforce. BETAs are digital natives who have never known life without easy access to communication technology. The environment in which they were raised, with rich online lives, has changed many of their priorities. That’s spilled over into what they expect out of a workplace, and how they will lead teams in the future.
What does the term “BETA” mean?
BETA is an acronym. It covers four key elements of the BETA generation, as follows:
Blurred boundaries: For gen BETA, the line between work and home is blurred. They are always plugged in and, as a result, often feel deprived of time. This generation has less of an idea of what it is to end the workday to engage in purely personal time.
Evolving: Perhaps as a result of those blurred boundaries, BETAs largely define themselves by their work. As their profession is their identity, they are engaged in a constant state of self-evolution, always trying to improve on the job. Self-evolution and innovation are of key importance to BETAs.
Tech native: BETAs have never known life without technology. According to a 2020 LinkedIn survey, the smartphone was a top work device for 71% of BETAs, beating out the laptop for 69% and desktop at 63%. Digital workspaces are second nature to gen BETA.
Activist: This generation cares deeply about the community. It demands action from consumer brands and businesses on social justice issues. For this group, cause-driven business initiatives are an expectation, not just a “nice to have.”
BETAs are just now beginning to assert their influence on consumerism and business. They are currently 21 to 40 years old, either just starting their careers or entering positions of power.
How are BETAs different from earlier generations?
Gen BETA finds it more difficult to “switch off” at the end of the day, because of the advent of technology that makes it easier to work almost continuously. The fact that BETAs are at the moment younger and in communal living situations means many may not have the luxury of private home space to work. The result is they find it more challenging to separate work from personal time.
This group also prioritizes real change, not satisfied with superficial forms of activism like social media posts. They expect corporate entities to do more than say they care about social justice and perform real internal work that demonstrates a commitment.
BETAs are therefore always on, justice-driven, and dedicated to self-improvement and self-evolution. It’s a departure from earlier generations that had to adjust to the central role of technology in daily life, and perhaps had little expectation that profit-driven companies would have a place in social action.
How might workplaces change with BETAs in charge?
In many ways, the workplace is already changing. Gen BETA is simply part of this trend. For example, it is already common to depart from traditional 9 to 5 working hours and to plug in from anywhere. BETAs influence the future of work trends, like giving employees a more satisfactory work experience through perks and remote work.
The BETA tendency toward self-improvement will also impact future workplaces, as businesses try to fill skill gaps through upskill and reskill initiatives. Constant learning is something employers need in a rapidly evolving world, and it’s something BETAs are willing to participate in.
While all of this focus on community justice and the powers of technology seem to support employee autonomy and social well-being, some fear the potential that technology can replace human beings. In the future of work, there’s an unease about the overbearing prevalence of machines that can do a person’s job, a challenge BETAs have to face.
Capacity as a tool for BETA-driven workplaces.
As gen BETA changes the nature of work, new tools enter business ecosystems to make connectivity easier. Capacity is one such solution. Learn more about what’s in store for BETAs and other participants in the economy in Capacity’s Ultimate Guide to the Future of Work. There’s a lot to think about.