By: Heather Haslam
If you’ve ever had to trouble-shoot your parents’ computer by phone or needed help from your 8-year-old to get a mobile app working, you know that different generations work with technology, well, differently.
The same is true when it comes to technology at work. Just because you have workers at the same level in terms of skill or responsibility, doesn’t mean they will adapt to technology changes in the same way. Here are some general guidelines how to successfully introduce new technology to different generations.
Gen Y & Gen Z – Ages 11-34
This tech-savvy bunch will soon comprise about half the workforce. But just because they’re comfortable with technology, doesn’t mean you can ignore them. This cohort likes collaboration and learning from peers. They’ll do well with on-demand training and real-time support from subject matter experts.
Gen X – Ages 35-53
Gen Xers are pretty adaptable when it comes to new tech, but give them a heads-up first, and keep in mind that this independent-minded group may not always ask for help when they’re struggling. They will succeed when you can connect them to people who can give them one-on-one support and demos and they are more than happy to find additional resources on their own either online or on paper.
Boomers – Ages 54-72
Respecting this group’s learning curve will be key, and even though their participation in the labour force is declining, they still account for one in five workers. In-person training, printed reference materials and group learning are all great approaches to set Boomers up for successful technology adoption.
Traditionals – Aged 73 and up
Our ideas of “retirement” have changed, so don’t be surprised to see more people working into their 70s and beyond. This generation is all about trust and authority, and they’re eager to learn as long as you give them a bit of time and access to people who will patiently help them figure things out. Keep in mind, it’s not just current employees who need to master new technologies; your retirees will also be interacting with your HR systems to retrieve tax forms or find benefits information.
The first step in any technology change at work is to get your managers onside. Your employees will look to them first for information and cues about workplace changes. If they are comfortable with the technology and able to articulate the benefits of making the change, they’ll be your best ambassadors, regardless of how old they are.
What challenges have you had rolling out new technology?
About Heather Haslam
Heather Haslam is Senior Director of Product Marketing for ADP Canada. This post was adapted from an article that appeared in Dialogue Magazine in April 2017.