In today’s workplace, digital natives or the Generation Z (born after 1980) are, at first glance, the ones most likely to use Unified Communications (UC); unlike Generation X for whom the use of these solutions seems to be much less intuitive.
At least that’s what we imagine.
How can companies support older employees and at the same time meet the demands of new generations of employees who expect different and more advanced technologies?
Is Unified Communications really a question of generation?
Generation X – a generation used to technological change
It is true that with the rise of Web 2.0, the predominance of Big Data and digital in general, employees belonging to Generation X may have sometimes been overwhelmed by these novelties. However, pushed by the younger generations they had no choice but to eventually change their habits and organization of work.
Without any doubt, Generation X has experienced the greatest technological changes during their professional career including the arrival of the Internet, development of email, mobile telephony and many other innovations. Mastering all of these changes clearly demonstrates their ability to adapt. Today, members of Generation X largely master social networks and instant messengers, and actively like, share and interact with their peers and employees.
Different generations have different preferences, but all manage to adapt
It is undeniable that employees have different expectations and requirements depending on their age. As a result, companies have implemented change management methods that lead to the creation of multigenerational environments in all businesses, regardless of size.
With the development of telework, flex-office and the cloud, work is becoming more virtual and mobile. In fact, 90% of all work is already done in virtual environments and the percentage is only increasing. All generations have managed to adapt to this development.
Generation X builds a link between the pre-internet and internet era
For Generation X the preferred place of work may still remain the office with a fixed personal office space and direct interaction with colleagues. But they also take advantage of telework from time to time as it offers a better work-life balance. Generation X regards work as a set of well-defined responsibilities, but it is passionate about new technologies that it easily adapts to. The internet is an absolutely normal part of Generation X’s daily life.
Marked by innumerable technological advances, we often speak of a generation “hyphen”, which links the world of the productive and hierarchical enterprises of the 1980s and those that saw the internet arrive in the 2000s. Driven by the speed of technological innovation, Generation X is the first to really think about new management methods. It is at the origin of so-called “agile” team organization models, which are of interest to more and more companies.
Generation Y and Generation Z – Digital Natives driven by the urge to share
Born after 1980 and before 1996, members of Generation Y are the first to become adult in the second millennium. By 2020, they will represent 75% of the workforce. They are mobile and nomadic, permanently connected. They are permanently looking for new places as well as collaborative ways of working. Sharing is a strong driver of their creativity.
Born after 1996, Generation Z is the last generation to be born in the 20th century. They are the first true Digital Natives, the first to never have known a world without the internet. Generation Z is also called Generation C (Communication – Collaboration – Connection – Creativity). They are a continuation of Generation Y and share many values such as the search for meaning as well as the importance of sharing and collaboration within a company.
Reality shows that Generation X is as eager to embrace unified communications as millennials or any other generation.
Although it is common to associate new technologies with millennials, in reality, all generations see the value of collaboration and mobility tools that allow them to work anywhere, anytime and from any device. A recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reveals that 60% of employees (all generations) believe that mobile technology makes them more productive. 45% believe it makes them more creative. Regardless of any generational issue, a clear majority (53%) agrees that mobile technology helps them find a better work-life balance.
The drive for change generated by the adoption of unified communications should therefore not be seen solely on the prism of the millennials but more broadly as a matter of the whole enterprise. Every organization must accompany the transition and adapt its approach according to the expectations and habits of employees of all generations.