The telephone makes for an interesting comparison point when looking at how members of different generations view technology. Think about it. Someone who entered the workforce in the 1970s used one, as did someone who joined the workforce yesterday. How they use it and the device itself, however, are radically different.
Talking to colleagues is still central to accomplishing tasks and driving business success. But, we use phones in a fundamentally different way today than we did 40 years ago. Members of a multi-generational workforce hold diverse views on how to use technology on any given day, and how important it is to them in choosing where to work.
When next you have the opportunity, ask an IT leader how they support different generations at work. It’s more complicated than it might seem, as each generation has their own technology preferences and habits.
Just think about adding work apps on a smart phone. While it’s no problem for millennials and members of Gen X and Z, Baby Boomers may feel differently. But, more than anything, having a workplace with members from diverse generations allows the opportunity for workers to learn from one another. One of the most compelling discussions we have as a team is how we are using technology differently.
While change can be angst-inducing, it’s better to lean in and embrace it. This helps break down silos, gives us greater access, and allows us to think through how our customers and end-users are also thinking about technology at work.
It’s important to not always accept stereotypes as the truth. Stereotypes suggest younger generations are technologically savvy, while older generations are not. Even if surveys find this notion true, as with every rule, there are exceptions. There are tangible differences within a single generation.
Rather than approaching colleagues from a particular generation with a preconceived perception, make it a point to learn their viewpoints on a specific topic, such as technology, and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Today’s workers must be prepared to learn, teach and adapt in the modern workplace.
Tailor Your Communication Style
By understanding multi-generational viewpoints and skillsets, leaders can tailor their leadership to get the most out of a team and provide the technology that bests suits them. In fact, multi-generational companies are the most robust and successful in today’s economy. It’s not about simply giving in to the whims of the group (rolling out the beer keg every Friday) but listening to what drives them. It’s about building a trust and connection with everyone in the organization. By doing so, team members will feel empowered. When teams feel empowered, their work is often inspired.
Still wondering how enterprises can best serve the technology needs of their multi-generational workforce? Read my full post at No Jitter.