Everybody likes to work in nice plush offices with state-of-the-art technology and the latest gadgets and gizmos, but it seems the next generations take it for granted that their future employers will have it all in place before they start – and know how to use it confidently.
Universum, INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, The HEAD Foundation and MIT Leadership Center has carried out a study into what the rising student cohorts of Gen Y and Gen Z look for in a future employer. It found that 72% of Generation X and Y respondents think employers’ digital capabilities are important but only 40% think employers’ digital capabilities are high.
Henrik Bresman, professor at INSEAD, said:
Technological innovations are reshaping just about everything in our world today and the workplace is no exception. Cloud-based collaboration tools, workplace messaging platforms, wearable technologies, virtual reality, and so on, have changed the meaning of going to work.
More and more, employees expect work applications to function as effortlessly and effectively as the applications they use in their personal lives, and even while working professionals say their employer’s digital capabilities are important, our collaborative research shows that less than half believe their current employer’s capabilities rank highly.
So how can you make sure your company is digitally-ready for the next generation?
1. Training for managers
One of the biggest barriers to introducing new technology into the workplace can be the supervisor or manager. If they are not tech literate then they will never feel comfortable around new systems. It could be that they fear technology – until they begin to learn how to use it. Once the manager or supervisor is confident in using technology, they will be more comfortable with using it and won’t feel embarrassed when a young employee boasts about how tech-savvy they are.
2. Help or hindrance
There are lots of different types of technology out there which can help boost your business and workflow. But there’s no point in buying the latest software if it doubles your workload or it constantly needs updating and therefore slows your workforce down. Make sure you invest in the best type of technology that is going to add benefit to your company and your employees, and not because it’s being used by your biggest competitor. What works for them may not work for you and vice versa.
3. Remote working
Things like cloud storage and mobile “smart” devices, now allow employees to take their work with them, wherever they go. This gives employees the ability to work from places like home, hotels, cafes, and even airports. A number of surveys have shown that millenials want flexible work options and especially the ability to work remotely. Managers should be thinking about developing a mobility strategy that not only gives their employees freedom but has good security and risk management to make this possible.
4. Mobile access to computers
Most people can pretty much access a virtual workspace from mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. This means companies can introduce a single technology so that remote users can have a seamless, consistent experience regardless of what device they are using or where. This could save companies a lot of time, work space and money.
5. Rise of virtual teams
As mentioned in point no.3, with the rise in remote working among the next generation, companies will need to focus more on not only how they can help their employees manage themselves and their work, but how they can share tasks using online platforms. It would be worth managers getting to know which platforms are available and what they can offer in terms of functionality. Once this has been implemented then its important for managers to train individuals and teams so they can fully benefit from it.
Craig Fisher is Head of Employer Branding at CA Technologies. He says:
Digital natives crave collaboration. It is in every aspect of their social lives and has been part of their classroom environments for the past several years. The tools and processes that support collaboration, both onsite and remotely, are key to helping helping younger workers feel they have the proper resources to do great work. Ensuring hiring managers are well-versed in the latest tools can show job seekers that the organization is committed to the collaborative culture they seek.
No employer wants his or her company to be left behind when it comes to technology. Those companies who don’t embrace new technology are not only missing out on tools and systems that can let their employees achieve better outcomes than ever before, but they could also alienate the best talent among the next generation. And once you’ve introduced the new technological systems in the workplace don’t take your eye off the ball as there are always new and emerging technologies which will help you to keep up-to-date.