IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

How to manage workplace generation gaps

Thu 3 Dec 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

It’s important to recognize that each employee is a unique individual, but it’s also true that people are shaped by the era in which they come of age. That’s why marketers, politicians and others who seek to appeal to the masses and influence group behavior study generational cohorts carefully to discover the traits that define them. This information can also be incredibly valuable for managers who are attempting to align staff activities in age-diverse workplaces.

Driving major organizational change is a huge challenge. Change can take many forms, including the implementation of new software. When a company makes an investment in new software, it’s critically important to motivate employees to use it to its full potential. But people tend to be resistant to change, so managers have to find a way to drive adoption.

Those who understand generational traits can use this knowledge to their advantage. The boundaries of each generational group are perpetually in dispute since defining them largely falls to the media. But these are the three major generational groups that currently dominate the workforce: Baby Boomers (1946-1960), Generation X (1961-1981) and Millennials (1982-2000).

A closer look at generational reactions to workplace change can be revelatory. Analysis of the deployment of one million-plus seats of Office 365 at thousands of companies worldwide reveals trends that can suggest new strategies for driving change. In that scenario, employees across all groups started from a baseline of using email and calendar functions on the old platform.

But what were the rates of adoption of new software features by generation? And what does that suggest about the different groups? More importantly, how can managers use these lessons to influence behavior and secure optimal adoption of change, such as new software?

The answer to the first question quickly becomes clear when evaluating Office 365 implementations: Unlike their Millennial counterparts, Boomer employees tended to not fully use the new software features, at least at first. General resistance to change partially explains it, but there appear to be generational components at work too.

For example, Millennials’ and Boomers’ data transmission preferences illustrate a sharp difference in each group’s approach: Boomers largely prefer attaching files to emails (even though this presents significant security risks) rather than sharing links to cloud-based repositories such as OneDrive or Dropbox. It makes sense if you consider the generational elements involved; sharing links and using cloud assets comes more naturally to Millennials.

Millennials have been sharing vines, tweets and videos socially all along, and they understand that it’s possible to control who sees a link and whether or not it can be forwarded when sharing it. Boomers prefer the more “tangible” file attachment, which provides an illusion of control.

Other generational elements that come into play during deployments include comfort with the social aspects of collaboration and readiness to share recognition through gamification. Again, these concepts seem to come more naturally to Millennials, who are social media and video game natives. Boomers came of age in an era when knowledge was as asset to be hoarded rather than shared. For Millennials, information is power when it is shared.

Generally speaking, Millennials and Boomers have radically different concepts of work and its place in life overall. Where Boomers tend to think of work as occurring within the confines of a specific place and seek work-life balance, the boundaries are more fluid for Millennials, who are always plugged in and look for work-life integration instead.

What about Generation X? While the divide between Boomers and Millennials tends to be starker, Generation X is caught in the middle. Generation X is a smaller group than Boomers or Millennials, and its members tend to display a mix of Boomer and Millennial sensibilities. Managers who want to drive organizational change across a generationally diverse workforce will need to use their knowledge of these traits to appeal to all three groups.

So what’s the best way to effect lasting change, given the generational dynamics in play? To borrow a concept from Gandhi, managers have to be the change they wish to see. Right now, the C-suite and senior manager ranks are mostly populated by Boomers and Generation X. The best way to move an entire workforce toward new tools and concepts that will make the organization more competitive is for leaders to demonstrate the value of doing so.

In the final analysis, it is up to leaders to resolve generational conflicts and get everyone in the workforce pulling in the same direction. Leaders who embrace change — those who value greater levels of collaboration, a more social approach to sharing and recognition as well as a new way of looking at how work life and home life intersect — will be in the best position to align employee practices with organizational goals. Those who succeed will be rewarded with a distinct competitive edge.  

By Chris Pyle, CEO of MessageOps

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
SaaS
MedCart achieves close to AUD$10 million in sales with help from Marketplacer tech
Australian health and medical start-up MedCart has achieved annual sales of close to AUD$10 million in less than 12 months, utilising Marketplacer marketplace technology to help achieve successful results.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft previews Power Platform website design offering
Microsoft has announced the preview of Power Pages, the fifth product in its Power Platform family, designed for low-code makers and professional developers.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Alteryx
Alteryx releases updates, empowers data insights for enterprise
Alteryx has released new advancements designed to aid enterprises with cloud analytics, democratise insights and ensure data governance.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile now makes up over 7% of Aussie prepaid market
Boost Mobile has doubled its market share over the past four years and now has more than 7% of Australia's prepaid market, equivalent to over 700,000 people.
Story image
Customer experience
Phone, internet complaints increase for first time in five quarters
Phone and internet complaints have increased for the first time in five quarters, according to a new telco report from the Ombudsman.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
GapMaps
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
DaaS
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Phishing
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Harnessing digital innovations to maximise loyalty programmes and improve CX
When it comes to the retail sector, merchants have never had access to so many different client touchpoints and data to understand their customers better.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Rackspace
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.
Story image
VPN
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
MEC
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Sustainability
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
CrescoData
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Digital transformation increasing business complexities
A new survey suggests businesses must re-examine their digital transformation approach to better help employees adapt to change.
Story image
Infosys
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image