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

Polycom on workplace diversity and multi-generational workforces in Australia

By Julia Gabel
Fri 16 Feb 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Tony Simonsen, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Polycom

It was not too long-ago that business normal often consisted of ‘old guys’ – those who had spent years working their way up to the so called ‘top jobs’. 

Usually found sitting in their closed-door offices at one end of the building; with the so called young ones – sitting in their cubicles, waiting for their own chance to move up the ladder and into an office of their own. 

Fast forward to today where we now work in a far more complex and diverse workplace environment. One that has seen rapid advances in technology, creating new ways of working - agile workforces and mobile workers who are embracing a more ‘work from anywhere’ style of getting the job done.

Nimble entrepreneurial style start-ups working in partnership with established corporates.

One that has also seen a major demographic shift in the age range of our working population. Today, 66% of Australia’s population, an estimated 11.8 million people aged between 15 and 64 years - now make up our workforce.

That’s five generations, who could potentially be working side-by-side in the same workplace.

Does Workplace Diversity Create More Opportunities?

For me, it has never been a greater time to be in a leadership role. Australia’s talent pool is so rich and diverse, quite unlike any other period in history.

Diversity – and not just gender diversity – brings different ideas, backgrounds and assumptions to the table. Having a talent pool made up of different generations means you have a broader perspective and can draw upon a wider range of ideas to make better decisions.

Our customers are certainly not all aged in their fifties; or even their twenties, so having senior leaders and employees who act more like our customer base can only be a positive thing.

Artificial Intelligence, Anywhere Working and the Future of Work

I’m often asked to explain the role that new technologies are expected to play in helping shape Australia’s Workplace of the Future.

According to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia’s (CEDA) recent Future of Work report, more than 40% today’s jobs will be extinct within the next 20 years due to technology advances. Today, there is a wide held belief that technologies like artificial intelligence will eliminate future jobs and tasks. 

While some jobs will be done by machines, human workers will not be replaced, but they will need to master new skills to deliver the value that only humans can provide.

For me, anywhere working is a strong example of where technology is playing a positive role in helping address the needs of our future workforce.

For too long the ability of being able to work flexibly has been limited to working from home and has been primarily beneficial to working mothers.

In The Changing World of Work, a Polycom global survey of more than 25,000 workers around the world, we found that flexible working is now becoming the basis for truly digitally-transformed businesses across all generations of workers.

While our anywhere working survey found that nearly two thirds of the global workforce take advantage of anywhere working, employees still have concerns about its impact on their career.

Surprisingly, results showed that it was technology-savvy millennials who were most concerned about the correlation between being physically present at work and being recognised as getting the job done.

In today’s technology-enabled workplace, anywhere working is becoming business-normal; employees expect it, and employers need to provide clear and fair policies to attract and retain their best talent.

Why Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce is not ‘Rocket-Science’

For any leader, the ability to bring a diverse group of people together to achieve a common purpose or business outcome is always enormously satisfying.

Managing such a diverse group doesn’t need to involve a shift in major mind set, generational intelligence training, or re-writing the HR ‘playbook’.

At the heart of it is the need to focus on our employees as people, regardless of age, gender, lifestyle choice, or work location. It’s also about empowering them with the right tools to get the job done.

We need to make sure that people are collaborating, building relationships, connecting with each other and remaining as productive as possible whether they choose to work in an office or remotely.

This means enabling them with access to the right business and communication tools to be successful – an adequate laptop, the ability to dial into audio and video conference calls, and content-sharing platforms so they can hear and be heard.

Allowing More Technology Choice within the Workplace

New technologies are no longer just for millennials. Most of us have been using laptops, tablets or smartphones as part of our daily lives for over two decades.

Naturally, we expect to have the same mobility and flexibility when it comes to our working lives too.

My team is made up of four generations, and perhaps not surprising, each generation has its own preferred hardware and communications preferences, and not just a device-of-choice but also the way how they use it.

The Snapchat and Instagram generation, for example, prefer to use their smartphones to communicate with video and visuals. They are not as comfortable sending text or SMS with emoji’s (which are becoming commonplace), or using the telephone to make a voice call.

I’ve found that by being flexible and adapting my own preferred communication style to suit the team members I’m working with improves workplace communication. I use WhatsApp, email, telephone and video conferencing throughout any day – dependant on what each member is most comfortable with.

Embracing Workplaces Differences Leads to Workplace Success

Multi-generational teams provide diversity in thinking.

When you think about it, the older generations were not always afforded as much education as the younger generations are today - opting instead to learn on the job.

When you see the ideas that come from combining the wisdom and experience of the older workforce with the inquisitive minds of the younger cohort it is great to be a part of. I enjoy leading such a diverse team.

With CEDA’s predictions and figures being tossed around that 75% of future jobs will be based in the science, technology, engineering or maths field, it’s crucial that businesses and employees start planning for what lies ahead.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Australian consumers loyal to retailers who deliver speed and visibility
SOTI finds extensive order visibility and speed are the most important factors for turning one-off customers into loyal, long-term buyers.
Story image
Ivanti puts spotlight on power of employee digital experiences
The report revealed that 49% of employees are frustrated by the tech and tools their organisation provides and 64% believe this impacts morale.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity named a Leader in Access Management
Ping Identity has been named a leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Access Management. 
Story image
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Sutton Tools deploys Infor M3 CloudSuite for manufacturing
Sutton Tools has also implemented the Infor OS cloud operating platform, including Infor Intelligent Open Network and Mongoose.
Story image
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Martech experts reveal the “buzz” on personalisation
In the digital age, innovative technology must be leveraged to power an efficient and effective relationship marketing strategy.
Story image
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Digital Transformation
Discover the 5 signs your business is ready for a cloud-based ERP. Is your business being left behind as more of your competitors switch to the cloud?
Link image
Story image
Vertiv releases updates on ESG initiatives, sets sights on future
Vertiv has released its inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, the company’s first public report of its ESG activities.
Story image
SAS wins Microsoft ISV 2022 Partner of the Year award
"We formed the SAS and Microsoft strategic partnership with a shared goal of making it easier for customers to drive better decisions in the cloud."
Supply chain
Discover the 4 critical priorities for wholesale distribution businesses in FY23. Are you worried about how supply chain issues may affect your business in 2023?
Link image
Story image
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Project management
Discover the 4 crucial factors for choosing the right job-costing solution. Is your team struggling to cost jobs and keep projects running on budget?
Link image
Story image
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
Four factors to consider when choosing the right job accounting solution
Progressive job-based businesses can achieve success by strengthening their ability to quantify every cost attributable to the delivery of an outcome for a customer.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Civil Defence
OutSystems platform chosen as part of ADF contract
"To be included in this project is a reflection of our ability to deliver secure, modern digital outcomes for defence at an incredible pace."
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Salesforce announces latest generation of MuleSoft
Salesforce has introduced the next generation of MuleSoft, a unified solution for automation, integration and APIs to automate any workflow.
Story image
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.
Story image
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
New VMware offerings improve cloud infrastructure management
VMware has unveiled VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring benefits of the cloud to existing on-prem infrastructure.
Discover the 5 ways your ERP may be letting you down. Is your current system outdated, difficult to manage, and costing you a fortune?
Link image
Story image
Four things wholesale distributors need to consider for FY2023
In a post-pandemic world, there are many things for a distribution business to juggle. ERP solutions company Wiise narrows down what companies should focus on.
Story image
Cloudian, Vertica to deliver on-premise data warehouse platform
"We’re enabling our customers to capitalise on a leading object storage platform and maximise the value of their digital assets.”
Story image
Hybrid workforce
How organisations can prepare for a post-pandemic workforce
The so-called 'new normal' office looks different to how it did pre-pandemic, and organisations need to take steps to better manage their post-pandemic workforce. 
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Microsoft names A/NZ Partner of the Year award winners
The awards recognise partners across the globe for their innovative use of Microsoft technologies to help customers succeed.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Google Cloud launches new Digital Accelerator bundles for Aussie SMBs
The new bundles are designed to help Australian small and medium-sized businesses embrace digital transformation and take their businesses online.
Story image
How the metaverse will change the future of the supply chain
The metaverse is set to significantly change the way we live and work, so what problems can it solve in supply chain management?
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Advent One acquires Layer 8 Networks, complements hybrid cloud offering
The acquisition comes at a time of surging demand in hybrid cloud, network virtualisation and network security.
Story image
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Data Protection
Five signs your business is ready to move to the cloud
Many organisations are thinking about moving to the cloud. But what are the signs you are ready, and what are the reasons to move?
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.