Blog: Workforce Productivity

5 Tips for Enhancing the Productivity of the Next-Gen in a Digital Age

May 26, 2021 - by Synoptek

As the next-gen increasingly represents a larger segment of the global workforce, they expect an array of new technology features in the solutions they use. Relying on outdated systems that lack modern user experience, integration, and security capabilities not only hampers workforce productivity, it also impacts the overall morale of the workforce. If you want to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the modern workforce, you need to carefully examine these technology preferences and build systems that meet their expectations.

A recent report by Forrester titled “The Forrester Guide to Equipping the Next-gen Workforce” talks about why organizations today shouldn’t use age to define their workforce enablement strategy and what they actually must do to boost their technology enablement strategy. Read on to learn more!

The Challenges with Current Technology Strategy Approaches

Several organizations have, for many years now, defined their technology strategy based on the average age of their workforce. The approach is rather simple: provide basic technology features to baby boomers and Gen X and equip Gen Y and Millennials with the latest and most intuitive and innovative tools and systems – especially as the percentage of Millennials is surging across nations. According to the Forrester report, by 2030, 74% of the workforce will be millennials and Gen X workers.

Although this approach has been extremely popular, sadly, age doesn’t always relate to the technology preferences of employees. In fact, an over-emphasis on age – especially on Gen Y and Millennials has known to result in poor engagement as it does not keep up with the varied expectations of today’s users. Here are some of the most widespread challenges with age-based technology strategy:

  • A broad generational approach to technology enablement often misses out on the technology preferences of outliers, who constitute a large percentage of the global workforce today. Assuming every Millennial to be tech-savvy or every Baby Boomer to be tech-disabled can result in extremely poor morale and engagement.
  • Its not just age that impacts workforce technology preferences; a lot of times, employees also have different expectations based on the stage of their life they’re currently in: while the younger generations might use MAC products for personal use, they also realize that in an office environment, Windows products are more convenient because of their fluidity with the assortment of Microsoft products.
  • At the same time, a narrow focus on age can also put diversity and inclusion efforts at risk. Since diversity is today a key driver of business performance, organizations that focus just on one generation tend to negatively impact the valuable experiences and unique perspectives that the other generations bring with them.

5 Tips for Equipping the Next-gen Workforce

In addition to considering age, organizations must also look at several other factors that have a bearing on workplace experiences. Since different employees have different technology preferences and expectations, it is vital that organizations look at several key areas while defining their technology strategy. Here are 5 tips for equipping the next-gen workforce:

1. Consider an Employee’s Role and Seniority While Providing Technology Solutions

Roles and seniority play a very important role in the technology strategy definition process and are more closely aligned with employee needs than age. For instance, onsite sales professionals will be spending more time using a CRM solution than say, their HR counterparts because their role demands it. Similarly, a baby boomer might feel more comfortable using a desktop app than a Millennial who would expect an intuitive mobile app to do the same job.

2. Build Employee Personas

Although it might seem easy to roll out a worldwide technology enablement strategy, geographical differences need to be carefully considered for higher engagement. Offering tech solutions that fit the needs of geographically dispersed employees while also building individual employee personas is a great way to boost productivity and retention. For instance, Millennials in the US might prefer iOS devices in their workplace, those in Asia Pacific would rather work with Android devices to do their jobs.

3. Offer Location Flexibility and Choice of Technology Selection

Employees today not only expect modern tools and systems; they also want these systems to be accessible from any location, so they can seamlessly do their jobs – irrespective of where they are located. In addition, they also want to be given a choice of different technology solutions and not be forced to use a system they don’t feel comfortable with.

4. Enable Personalization

As security becomes a core component of any enterprise strategy, it is advisable to allow employees to choose their security options – based on their preferences. Doing this can help employees across generations feel valued while ensuring no security policies are dodged in the name of productivity. According to the Forrester report, 46% of Gen Z workers want to choose the security software their device uses but only 20% of Baby Boomers feel the same.

5. Monitor and Improve

Provide technology experiences that strengthen your diversity and inclusion efforts and ensure everyone has the right tools to contribute to their work. A diverse and inclusive tech strategy makes everyone – regardless of their age, role, or seniority – feel equally involved and supported in all areas of the workplace. At the same time, make sure to constantly monitor the experiences you provide your employees to identify areas of improvement and prepare for constant change.

Despite all the hullabaloo about using generational data as a foundation of any technology strategy, the truth is, technology enablement should consider several other critical aspects as well: right from the employees’ role to their geographical location, seniority, as well as individual technology and security preferences. Equipping the next-gen workforce with modern solutions while simultaneously meeting the technology expectations of the older generation is the only way to improve employee technology experience.

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