How the Digital Workplace Can Close the Generation Gap in your Organization

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I’ve written about how the millennial generation is taking over the workplace (that means your workplace). In that post, I described the numerous ways that the digital workplace can support millennials’ engagement, productivity, and retention.

BUT, while the millennials are taking over your workplace, they still have to work—and produce results—with all the other generations there. Writing in Fast Company, HP’s president for the Americas Richard Bailey ascribes an even greater power to workplace technology: Bringing the generations together to achieve great things in your organization.

One workplace, five generations

Bailey leads with the premise that as many as FIVE generations may be represented in an organization:

  • Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
  • Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980)
  • Early Millennials (born between 1980 and 1987)
  • Late (“Recessionist”) Millennials (born between 1988 and 1995)
  • Gen Z (born after 1995)

Viewed from 10,000 feet, each generation brings to work its own unique set of general aspirations and worries. These are shaped by experiences, life stages, and career trajectories. Bailey contends that organizations, if they wish to grow and thrive, must break down those differences and bring the generations together:

“Each generation tends to believe its way of doing things is also the best way. When this happens, cultural clashes invariably hamper operational efficiency… However, I have found that every generation in the workforce has one thing in common: wanting to be heard.”

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Goal #1: Solving for communication

Given the choice, the different generations in your organization have different preferences in how they like to communicate. For example, Bailey cites a study by Bridgeworks revealing that nearly three-quarters of millennials and Gen Zs say that of all methods of interpersonal communication, they’re weakest with in-person. BUT, they’re fluent and adept when it comes to video and text messaging. (If you’re a parent, you might experience this daily, without having to go to work!)

Understandable, but how do you square it with, say, late Boomers who prefer emails, phone calls, or face-to-face communication? Bailey asserts,

“Since intergenerational translators do not exist (yet), the next-best option is communication platforms where team members message one another, share documents, and collaborate in real-time on various projects.”

When all employees become fluent and adapt to your company’s technology-driven communications, they establish, nurture, and strengthen the interpersonal workplace relationships that support collaboration, innovation, and productivity. This heightened employee engagement supports employee satisfaction and retention. And by extension, better business outcomes.

This is where a well-planned digital workplace becomes truly impactful.

Diligent discovery and design ensure a digital workplace that advances your organization.

At StitchDX, every digital workplace engagement begins with an intensive and iterative Discovery and Design exercise. In Discovery, we conduct individual interviews and lead group discussions to glean critical insights into not only technological needs, but also the attitudes and aspirations that inform the ways your people work each day.

Then we apply our findings to create user types (analogous to buyer personas in digital marketing) that guide us as we Design the functional specifications of your office intranet and unify the applications, tools, and content of your digital workplace. These specifications answer your organization’s challenges around communication, data and document sharing, collaboration, and remote work to foster greater efficiency, innovation, productivity, and employee engagement.

Your office intranet—optimized through our proprietary Design and Discovery process—is the heart of an effective digital workplace. If your organization is exploring a digital workplace transformation, we’d love to answer your questions. Feel free to contact us anytime, and we’ll get the conversation started (with us doing most of the listening).

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