Workplace Demographics: Are You Ready for the Change?
Is technology transforming the way we work? Or is a new way of doing work having an impact in how we use technology?
Nearly 90 percent of companies plan to increase their investment in productivity-enabling technologies by 2015 (Booz & Co), and Gartner is predicting that by 2018, 50% of team coordination and communication will occur via mobile group collaboration apps.
The way we work today rests heavily on technology, it’s now an expected part of our lives. Enterprise applications are also behaving more and more like consumer applications, which are easy to implement and ready to use, also contributing factors to the fast pace of technology adoption.
But beyond technology adoption, there’s another game changer in business.
The rules of the game are changing, again.
After the adoption of a digital workplace that started back in 2000, the way we interact with technology, and with each other, is undergoing another transformation. This important shift will rewrite the rules of how we do things at work, from communication, to adoption of new technology, to how effective we truly are at work. The ability for companies to adapt to this change will mean whether they remain competitive or completely disappear.
The Change: Different workforce, different mentality.
Millennials are reshaping the workplace. We know millennials don’t like that term, but we at Kaleo embrace millennials because in 2015 they became the largest share of the American workforce, according to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. In the first quarter of 2015, the millennial workforce reached 53.5 million.
Every company should embrace millennials as well. They are the workforce of the present, and future. In contrast, Baby Boomers have started to retire, and those still in the workforce are becoming minority.
What are the implications for businesses?
It may seem obvious to say this, but if you’re going to lead a team, you ought to first make sure that you know who’s on it.
If your team is a mix of people with very different work styles, personalities and mentalities (and generations), then you need to understand the impact that these differences have on your bottom line.
When the most experienced people retire, they take with them specific expertise about the business. Once they’re out the door, important knowledge about process, customers, etc. is also gone. This leads to newer employees reinventing the wheel instead of picking up where others left off. The inability to have continuity represents monetary losses for companies, but this is not easily recognized until it’s too late. It’s also rare for a company to measure knowledge loss or gain.
Collaboration styles that clash.
Millennials and Baby boomers have very different work styles — check this blog post by our resident millennial, where she explains the basic differences — and these differences can cause issues at work that can impact effectiveness. Great results are never achieved by a team that doesn’t work well together. It’s true that certain amount of tension in teams is healthy, but total lack of alignment can bring terrible results, including losing top talent to the competition.
At the core, having multiple generations at the workplace it’s not about who is right or wrong, but about embracing change and adapting to it. Bringing technologies that cut the noise and help us work better together is key to take business to the next level.
If you’re curious whether you have a millennial mindset, try this Pew Center quiz to find out. If you’re curious on how to avoid losing valuable knowledge in your organization, give us a call.