The generation gap
Most organisations now employ five generations of workers – Traditionalists (born before 1945), Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), Millennials (born 1981-1994) and Generation Z (born after mid-1995). It’s therefore vital to review the differences in their experiences in this report. After all, each generation has varying levels of technology expectation, experience and knowledge.
In some areas, the differences are stark too. Only 19% of Generation Z workers, for example, say security should be inherent in all the business software they use, compared to 62% for the over 55s. It suggests the younger generation are likely to be less concerned about security – potentially seeing it as someone else’s job – and more concerned around what the technology can actually do.
Quite simply, they want tools and technologies that are intuitive and simple to use. However, 51% of Generation Z workers say product complexity is the biggest barrier to successful digital transformation, compared to 36% on average for all other age groups. Integration is seen as a barrier too, with 51% of Generation Z blaming a lack of integration between their organisation’s business software for holding them and their team back from doing their job effectively during lockdown. It clearly demonstrates the need for organisations to prioritise usability and connectivity.
That’s not to say that organisations aren’t trying. Around half (51%) of Generation Z workers say the crisis has triggered the new purchase of technology. However, just 2% of them say the productivity of the workforce has triggered these purchases (compared to 47% for the over 55s). What’s more, only 16% feel remote working has increased as a business priority because of Covid-19, compared to 33% for all other generations. Similarly, a mere 9% of Generation Z say their organisation prioritises the ability to work remotely when choosing new technology (compared to 27% for over 55s).
It could mean Generation Z workers are dissatisfied with the technology measures implemented during lockdown. Organisations need to ensure remote working is high up on the business agenda, and that the right equipment is in place to drive productivity and collaboration, especially when we consider that Generation Z will eventually make up a large portion of the future workforce.
The Cloud is a key enabler for remote working but, right now, it’s not living up to the expectations of the younger generation. Shockingly, just 10% say the Cloud has delivered a greater user experience and it’s the same number for speed of implementation too, which we’d expect to be much higher. It suggests there is a serious disconnect between technology and the people it’s intended for.
All of these generational differences could have damaging consequences in the long-term. We could see Generation Z workers become increasingly frustrated in their organisation and, once the job market picks up, chances are they will find somewhere else that is offering the right business tools.
TAKEAWAY: Maximise the inherent digital skills of your future workforce – Generation Z. Listen to their frustrations and encourage them to help influence decisions on which technologies can transform their working practices for the better.