Many companies are leaping into modernizing legacy applications and a global company-wide digital transformation. With the growing number of generations in the workforce, it can be hard to balance employee’s wants and needs to keep them happy during the digital transition. Baby boomers are staying in the workplace longer, often in higher-up positions, and tech-savvy Gen X and Millennials are itching to take their place. Combine that with Gen Z influencing trends and workprocesses, and you have a chaotic situation at best.
The CEO of Nexxt, Rich Milgram, said what most leaders are thinking “If I had a workforce of people who could communicate with the elegance of a Baby Boomer, the thoughtfulness of a Gen-Xer, and the speed of a Millennial, that would be perfect.” But the key to creating a situation in which all your employees can get behind, isn’t catering the digital transformation to each demographic, but rather providing the training and tools for them to teach themselves.
When a company switches applications or changes a process, it can be confusing even for the most seasoned professional. Now, add in new functions and vernacular from before/after your time and it can be downright frustrating. Tools, like Udemy, or information sheets in the company (say for acronyms, resource links) can help cut down on employees asking questions and feeling embarrassed. This also frees up your managers to work on other problems after The initial rollout of applications to employees.
Encourage Peer to Peer Learning
Many times, employees are using similar tactics to get a job done, but because of age differences and technological advancements, it can seem like two totally different approaches. Encourage employees to come together and explain why they do their jobs in the manner they do them. Finding similarities between work processes not only streamlines the entire project but creates a better workplace conversation. When the whole team is faced with modernizing a legacy application, the new conversation from senior members and junior members together, will allow for more creative ideas and a faster transition.
Here at Intellective, because we are a primarily remote company, we encourage employees to learn about, A. things they enjoy and, B. things that benefit their role and the company through programs like Udemy. This is a great option, but there are a variety of ways to reward employees for learning things that are out of their wheelhouse. You can pay for employees to take courses on the newest apps, create monthly lunch-ins where employees share their newest find in your sector, or simply encourage continued learning through tuition reimbursement. All of these options keep employees from becoming stagnant and encourage sharing of ideas no matter what generation they are.
In the end, the key to implementing a digital transformation in a multi-generational company is communication. By keeping lanes of communication open, and providing plenty of tools to find information, you can keep your employees from feeling attacked or embarrassed based on their previous knowledge. The entire business is learning a new program or process, so reinforce that you’re all in it together!