For so many of us, technology is the main tool we use to get work done. In today’s multi-generational workforce the different attitudes and experiences of Baby Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials represent great diversity in the adoption and use of technology. Where there is diversity, there is the potential for adversity, but enabling a multi-generational workforce with technology can actually pull workers together instead of push them apart. That’s good news for business owners and executives who have plans for growth, because human talent is imperative to meeting their goals. Here are three ways that technology can be leveraged to help companies unite a multi-generational workforce.
No matter what their age, people have a need for connection. Connection is an important component of worker engagement which refers to the level of emotional investment people have with their employer and co-workers. Technology can help people feel like they are part of a team; provide a platform to share their viewpoints and suggestions; and provide a way to spotlight effort and results.
The success of the technology will be determined by different factors such as how training addresses different learning styles of digital immigrants and digital natives, and how the culture of the company supports the goal of the technology - whether it is for recognition, feedback, skill development or providing transparency into company goals and challenges.
Collaboration tools that enable people to work together can have a big influence on multigenerational teams. They can provide a way for older workers to document and transfer their knowledge to younger employees. They can give younger workers the view they need of how their role fits in with the big picture. The adoption of collaboration technology is more successful when its use is inserted into business processes.
Some companies have found that cross-generational mentoring has been an effective strategy for training workers to use collaboration tools as well as other technologies. Instead of feeding on stereotypes that older workers are slow to learn technology, or that younger workers are self-centered, this strategy can nurture mutual respect and the development of relationships, having a positive effect on productivity and morale.
Work isn’t about where but about how, when technology is used to allow people to be connected to the office wherever they are. All generations appreciate the flexibility that they get from the being able to work remotely. Boomers are at the age when they could be caring for aging parents. GenXers are raising children and balancing work with an active family life. Flexibility appeals to Millennials so that they can have more control over how their prioritize their time.
Despite having different reasons for wanting flexibility, technology that allows people to work at different times and from different locations, gives them a way to customize their job and that is of value to people of all ages.
Choosing the Best Technology
There are many factors to take into consideration when you are considering new technology. In addition to determining if the software will meet organization goals, consider how it will integrate into your network infrastructure and current applications. Does it meet security and compliance standards? How will everything scale as the business grows?
When companies strategically invest in technology to enable their workforce, they find that the payback is in increased business value because they get workers who are high performing and balanced people, motivated to join their efforts together to grow the business.