It’s no secret that generational gaps exist in the modern day world and it can cause friction - the movement of the “OK Boomer” trend in late 2019 is a testament to this. While the “Boomer” mentality is not applicable to everyone, it sheds light on older generations’ frustration with new technology in a face-paced digital era.
This is especially prevalent in the workplace, with Gen Z reportedly spending up to 8 hours of the week helping older co-workers look for computer files. Not only does this prevent older employees from being able to complete their tasks but it also leads to annoyance among younger workers who have to spend more of their time assisting the person next to them. How can we bridge this gap and help older employees who may not be as familiar with technology thrive in the workplace?
Is there such a thing as too much tech?
In a recent survey conducted by Freshworks, nine in ten employees are frustrated by their workplace technology. This covers all generations, Gen Z and Baby boomers alike. Many people find tech simple enough to use in a personal capacity, such as our smartphones. Applications and software can be easily installed with the tap of our finger. However, when it comes to the office, employees are often met with systems that do not communicate with each other, confusing interfaces, and complicated sign-on processes. Workplace software can often be so complex that dedicated training courses are required for employees to become familiar with the software.
Of course, training is necessary in order to gauge employee performance and make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn how to use any new software. The use of a digital adoption platform may help in streamlining this process, to boost efficiency with workplace tech. Although younger generations usually come into the office with a wealth of knowledge and understanding of how technology works before any training takes place, they can still still lack experience. This is why it is vital to take steps in assisting older generations to become more tech-savvy with the value they bring to the company in other areas.
Workplace technology often forgets the end-user as it continues to become more complex. There is an extra burden on employees to quickly learn how to navigate new software and to continue using these systems long after the training period has ended. This can really depend on how proficient someone is with technology in the first place but in this era of digital transformation, there is no choice to opt-out of working with tech.
How can businesses overcome this? Most businesses may already be aware that DAPs are playing a vital role in this digital transformation era. The use of a digital adoption platform (DAP) can provide a customized guide to allow the end-user to improve their tech-adoption and make for a more enjoyable user experience. With 91% of Gen X and Baby boomers feeling overwhelmed by technology, a DAP can make technology more user-friendly by improving interface and automating processes, while also providing businesses with data insights and the ability to show solutions to user problems or misunderstandings immediately on the screen.
This extra layer can encourage older employees (and all employees, regardless of age and experience) to stay on top of their tasks, clear confusion around tech, and lead to better job satisfaction from the support received from the DAP and the company.
A cultural shift
There are many companies, including some big names, that now streamline working from home. The recent COVID-19 pandemic changed where businesses lay their emphasis when it comes to keeping employees happy - instead of fostering a more dynamic office environment, more companies are offering flexibility with remote and hybrid working.
The rise of remote working can mean that many employees may be left without the support from IT to figure out how to solve their own tech issues. It is vital to ensure employees are still receiving the same level of support with company software and systems as they would if they were in the office. This is where a DAP can offer guidance and keep employees on track.
Additionally, workplaces have often hired candidates on the basis of being a “cultural fit” for their business. This mindset can lead to new tech start-ups hiring only Millennials or Gen Z who already have a good understanding of the digital landscape, but this is not the best practice.
Not only should diversity hiring be practiced, it is also beneficial when it comes to hiring older employees. They will likely have more experience and expertise in areas such as marketing and strategy as well as offering a different perspective. On the other hand, consider that the older candidate who has a great approach to problem solving may be the better choice over a younger candidate who “gets” tech. Overall, a mix of employees across the generations will broaden horizons for all everyone and encourage a more constructive workplace with diverse experiences that will allow your business to grow.
Bridging the gap in the digital generation divide can be solved with the adoption of software such as a DAP. Businesses who offer support and foster continuous learning with workplace tech will see results with less frustration over tech, better workplace relationships, and a boost in overall productivity.