Could new technology address the generation gap in the workplace?

MILLENNIALS in the workplace are on the rise. According to PwC, by 2025 they will make up 50 per cent of the global workforce, and we currently have as many as five generations working for any given company. This diverse environment poses a challenge for employers: How do you unify a group of people with different approaches to work and communication?

In a recent study, 45 per cent of respondents cited lack of engagement as a top challenge for meetings. Different people prioritise different objectives, and it falls to senior management to find ways to accommodate all viewpoints and drive productivity. With Millenials set to be the business leaders of tomorrow, if enterprises are to succeed under new digital and data savvy leaders, they must maximise the transfer of skills across generations.

To start, understanding values and attitudes of all generations is critical. Baby Boomers for example (born between 1946 and 1964) are alleged to be competitive, whereas Gen Ys (AKA Millennials) enjoy working in teams and like regular feedback. When it comes to sitting down for a meeting, these different approaches must be managed.

Research has revealed that Millennials prefer face-to-face meetings and prioritise engaging discussion. This is arguably in contrast to members of Gen X, who expect an informative but focused experience. Meeting these diverse needs in the workplace is a challenge – particularly when we throw in remote workers.Comprehensive means for collaboration must unite diverse groups and individuals, and in doing so improve productivity and workplace efficiency.

Cloud-based collaboration platforms provide a potential solution. By unifying all tools and applications in one environment, teams can contribute, combine and transfer content and knowledge. When it comes to meetings, these can be made more efficient by enabling participants to work together in real time.

Enterprises must select options that keep collaboration simple and intuitive. Less effective solutions can run the risk of being ignored or requiring lengthy training, reducing productivity in the short term. Hardware and software agnostic solutions therefore hold a distinct advantage by enabling workers to collaborate with technology they are already familiar with.

The right technology can make a big difference in accelerating product and service development, driving ROI overall. Collaboration is critical – from simple beanbag brainstorms to advanced platforms, technology must be used to empower workers of all generations to work in the way that works best for them. 

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