Jobs across the country are adapting to a new reality. Baby boomers and those who came before them, often called traditionalists, stay in the workforce longer. Meanwhile, early Gen Z members, defined as those born after the mid-1990s, are beginning their careers and will be a significant part of the workforce. How will we all get along after four, and in many cases five, generations have worked together?
The answer to uniting these different generations lies in the digital workplace. While it’s easy to assume that “digital” excludes older generations, a truly digital workplace allows employees to communicate through whatever channels they want. And when it comes to dealing with employees of different generations, that’s the key.
Let’s see how technology can help bring all of your employees together, whether they prefer SMS, Twitter or the phone.
Understand the technology gap between generations
Even if you don’t know what the intergenerational technology gap is, you instinctively understand it.
Because of this, some people in your office prefer face-to-face meetings or phone calls, some prefer email, and others can only be contacted by chat, as they don’t answer the phone. Understanding and respecting these digital habits is the key to closing the generation gap and attracting multigenerational talent.
Especially if you are leading an initiative and talking to another generation, try to go beyond your preferences and think about what other generations might prefer.
Basically, these preferred behaviors and technologies together form a gap between generations of technology, in which employees who are shaped by their personal experiences show different skills (and willingness) to use new technologies.
In constant search for the next update or device, Millennials and Gen Z quickly activate the latest apps, while Gen X and Baby Boomers are slower to adopt the technology.
Address generation preferences
For younger generations, technology means flexibility. From the cloud to video conferencing, mobile apps, and chat, millennials have embraced the freedom of remote work.
How a company uses technology is so important to millennials that 71% say it affects if they take a job. Like Millennials, Gen Z members want a sophisticated digital work environment. According to a Dell report, 80% want to work with the latest technology.
But technology is more than just high-tech phones and apps. While we standardize processes and implement technology, we define clear communication channels. Therefore, the mode of communication is standardized for current interactions.
This is where things like electronic forms can come in handy. When everyone submits a form, there is no debate about who said what or who approved what. You can even satisfy generational preferences by allowing approval through an app, email, or the web.
3 ways technology can bring generations together
For many of us, technology is the most important tool for doing our jobs. In today’s multigenerational workforce, the different attitudes and experiences of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y represent great diversity in the adoption and use of technology. Many things can separate generations, but technology doesn’t have to be.
The best way to support and engage all of your employees is to not only recognize the different communication preferences, but also the overlap between them.
Here are three ways technology can help unite a multi-generational workforce.
- Engagement: Members of all generations see the value of more personal contact. An effective communication strategy recognizes that, for example, people are better suited to lengthy discussions when an instant message is an effective way to verify a particular detail. Define company policies on the best way to communicate certain types of information.
- Collaboration – Collaboration tools like chat, video conferencing, content management, and project management can have a huge impact on multigenerational teams. They can help older workers document and share their knowledge, while also allowing them to understand how they fit into the bigger picture.
- Flexibility: if the last few months have taught us something, work is not about knowing where it is done, but how it is done. All generations appreciate the flexibility that remote working gives them. Baby boomers could take care of aging parents. Gen X and Gen Y are likely to combine work with active family life. Flexibility draws Gen Z in to have more control over how they spend their time. Think about how you can use technology to give all generations the flexibility they need.
The ability to work productively with colleagues to achieve personal and professional goals is the second most important factor in job hunting for employees of all generations.
A large digital workspace offers employees of all generations a variety of technologies to choose from, be it chat apps like Microsoft Teams or Slack, mobile apps, audio calls, video calls, face-to-face or video conferencing, or any other available technology. . When building your digital workspace, actively consider the needs of multiple generations to bring your employees together. This will help build a stronger team overall.