Bridging Communication in the Multi-Generational Workplace

by Midd Carmack, Senior Product Manager

This is a unique time in history for the business world. Many baby boomers are still active and not ready for retirement. Gen Xers are in the prime of their careers and eager to climb the corporate ladder but are also struggling with the demands of raising families. Millennials are redefining what it means to “go to work.” Each of these three generations has very different views on how to leverage technology to get the job done. For IT leaders, that can lead to challenges as you try to implement applications and strategies across all three generations.

80% of Fortune 500 executives find that effective communication across generations is a challenging issue.

With a generation gap of nearly 50 years, a broad range of perspectives, needs, and motivators in the 2017 workforce has emerged. This makes it imperative to consider how a multi-generational workforce perceives technology, and how technology can be used to communicate, collaborate, and improve productivity.

Baby Boomers

  • Number in the Workplace: 44.6 million
  • Workplace Motivators: Job security
  • Attitude Toward Technology: Adapters
  • Technology Preference: Personal Computer
  • Mode of Communication: Email and telephone
  • Communication Preference: Face-to-face ideally, but telephone or email if required

Born before 1963, Baby Boomers still make up 29% of the workforce and are often found in leadership and senior positions. Overall, this generation is known for being productive, hardworking team players. Technology has impacted their careers, and the ability to adapt has been a necessity. In some cases, this has been a challenge – not only in application, but also on the impact technology has had on office dynamics. Two-thirds of Boomers, for example, say that laptop use during in-person meetings is distracting, while less than half of Millennials agree.

Generation X

  • Number in the Workplace: 52.7 million
  • Workplace Motivators: Entrepreneurial opportunities and self-reliance
  • Attitude Toward Technology: Adopters
  • Technology Preference: Laptop and cell phone
  • Mode of Communication: Text messaging and conferencing
  • Communication Preference: Collaboration and team environments, comfortable with face-to-face or online options

Gen Xers currently makeup 35% of the workforce. They were born between 1963 and 1980 and are the first generation to have grown up with computers and video games, making them technologically resourceful. Working in groups is their preference, and they thrive in collaborative, knowledge-sharing, and innovative environments that promote a casual workplace and maximum flexibility.

Millennials

  • Number in the Workplace: 53.3 million
  • Workplace Motivators: Freedom and desire to multi-task
  • Attitude Toward Technology: Technology sophisticated
  • Technology Preference: Tablet and Smart Phone
  • Mode of Communication: Text messaging and social media
  • Communication Preference: Online and mobile

Millennials born between 1980 and 1995 now make up the largest segment (36%) of the workforce. For Millennials, technology has always been part of everyday life, and that has fueled the demand for the latest in communication and information-processing capabilities, including app-based solutions. They appreciate the freedom to work anywhere and everywhere, and their culture is one that is constantly “on” and connected.

Driving Productivity in the Multi-Generational Workforce

Now that we have taken a look at the generations, let’s look at how technology can bring them together. Microsoft Office is a perfect example. Although they may use it differently, it’s as well-known to Baby Boomers as it is to Millennials. Baby Boomers who prefer to use their laptops and PCs can use Office 365 as they always have. Gen X can collaborate and work in real time with co-workers with tools like Skype for Business and SharePoint Online. Millennials always have the latest app and work from wherever they are, using Skype for Business for Instant Messaging and video meetings.

 

infographic_4-copy-updated-blog-02This Office 365 visual demonstrates how people are using technology tools to drive productivity and which applications are the most popular. To check out the full infographic, download it here.

Implementing Office 365 for the Multi-Generational Workforce

Implementing Office 365 to meet the needs and expectations of your multi-generational workforce can be complex, especially in a Hybrid IT environment. To help our clients overcome the challenges, TierPoint offers Managed Office 365, a service that creates safe, secure, and highly available hybrid Microsoft Office 365 environments for organizations that prefer a mix of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure.  This service includes an initial assessment of your environment with performance recommendations; consulting and customization; hybrid environment design; and synchronization of Office 365 with the Microsoft Exchange environment in your data center(s).

Your TierPoint advisor can answer any questions you have and help you determine if Office 365 and TierPoint Managed Services are right for you.

midd_carmack-head-shot

 

As a Senior Product Manager, Midd is responsible for delivering key features to define and translate TierPoint’s cloud product strategy into innovative and compelling solutions. Midd brings over 20 years of IT Infrastructure, Operating System and Database administration and product management experience to the TierPoint team.