DEX's Role in Bringing Generations Together
- There are four generations in the workforce – each expecting something else from technology.
- Organisations need to find a balance between technological innovations and comfortable tools for all generations.
- By integrating accessibility into technologies and methodologies, organisations can build work environments that work for everyone.
- Organisations should consider automation and AI to improve their digital employee experience and bring generations together.
Download the Digital Employee Experience Report and explore research results.
For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workforce:
- Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964).
- Generation X (1965-1980).
- Millennial (1981-1996).
- Generation Z (1997-2012).
This puts organisations in a unique situation – how do you make the correct adjustments for such a wide-ranging workforce? We are interacting with tech in nearly every aspect of our lives. And each generation has their own preferences, expectations and drivers for using tech.
Workers of all generations have struggled to adapt to remote and hybrid work environments, finding themselves in an uphill battle to build positive interactions with new tools and devices. This has been exacerbated by the rapid pace of technological development.
“DEX is great, but I believe we should also leave some space to the older generations who are not so familiar with new technologies and can function more efficiently in traditional environments.”
- IT Support Specialist, Essity
By 2030, one in every five Americans will be of retirement age, with 65% of Boomers planning on working past the retirement age of 65. By 2050, people in the European Union aged 75-84 years will expand by 56.1%. Employment rates for people aged 50-69 are also expected to rise to 65% in 2035, with 12% of office workers already being 59 years or older. This can’t be overlooked as it points to more diversity in how workers interact with their technology and what they expect from their employers.
For example, Millennials in a Gartner report rated socialisation and passion as strong motivators for working at an organisation, giving it the highest rating of five. Meanwhile, Baby Boomer and Gen X rate these two categories at one and three, respectively.
Even though a large portion of the workforce is still over the age of 50, Gen Z is projected to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025. This growing dichotomy means that employees, even if they work for the same company or on the same team, will have vastly different work methods and expectations from their employers.
Inclusivity is the key to tapping into new growth in this era of Everywhere Work. Investing in your digital employee experience (DEX), which equips your employees with the right tools, is a great start.
The correct investment helps to foster improved workflows and help with talent retention. On top of that, the tools it brings to your organisation, such as 360-degree monitoring of devices and automatic self-healing of devices, offer you the necessary insights to identify how to bridge generational divides.
A flexible and scalable employee experience for everyone
Organisations need to balance adopting technological innovations and making sure all generations can stay productive and comfortable with the tools they use. Because at the end of the day, a great digital employee experience works for everyone – regardless of their age. But, just like Albert Einstein’s saying, “everything is relative,” a “great” experience is different for everyone.
What works well for one generation may not translate equally to another. You need to make sure your IT team can cater to all their needs and monitor trends to adjust and inform your strategy and investment. For example, Gen Z and Millennials, who’ve been surrounded by tech their entire lives, might not be inclined to seek support. They’ll opt for resolving it themselves.
This type of DIY culture can eventually snowball into shadow IT – a risk growing globally. In fact, our Everywhere Work report shows there’s been a 26% increase in shadow IT because of remote work environments. In some countries, like Germany, there’s been an astounding 45% increase in shadow IT.
That’s why basing it on the context of the user and noting specific preferences and expectations, thanks to heightened levels of automation and AI, opens the door for more personalised support for all generations.
While it’s important to keep generational differences in mind, it’s equally important not to fall victim to stereotyping – sometimes referred to as unconscious bias. Rather, get a gauge directly from your employees and look at what areas need to be addressed.
Our research found that 14% of workers say their organisation doesn’t even collect employee feedback on a regular basis. With 26% of employees saying they’d quit their job partly because of the tools available, taking no action isn’t an option. Asking for direct feedback from your employees is key. Additionally, you can augment this by measuring your users’ DEX score and sentiment on a continuous basis.
A common cause of employee frustration stems from lost work and interrupted momentum. In fact, 42% of office workers have spent their own money on hardware and software to help stay productive and ease frustration for themselves.
When workers lack the necessary tools to work effectively, their productivity and morale suffer. This is highlighted in a recent Harvard Business Review study where only 28% of employees feel connected to their organisation’s mission. And this can lead to a mass exodus. According to our Everywhere Work report, 25% of office workers say they switched jobs in the last year because they didn’t feel engaged with the values and culture of their company.
Seeing what works for employees and what areas need to be addressed is key to improving your organisation’s DEX and putting your employees in a position to succeed.
Integrate accessibility into your technologies and methodologies
As you head towards improving your digital employee experience, assessing how to make your technology flexible and scalable for everyone is a step in the right direction.
Some examples of improving accessibility can include:
- Going beyond post-ticket surveys and collecting sentiment via interactive automation bots.
- Offering audio options.
- Tracking and optimising experiences over time.
- Implementing automation to reduce workloads and solve problems before they impact users.
Organisations have an opportunity to be trailblazers in how they run their digital employee experience initiatives. Not only will improving your DEX build work environments that cater to each employee’s needs, increase productivity levels and align them with the goals of your organisation, it will help bridge generational divides – making your organisation more inclusive and productive.
Improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is something C-suites can’t avoid. 56% of full-time employees say having an ethnically, racially or culturally diverse workforce is very important to them – with Gen Z and Millennial employees valuing it more than Gen X and Boomers.
Improving your digital employee experience efforts can also aid in DEI efforts by:
- Building clearer connections to specific business outcomes.
- Maximising data-driven decision making.
- Providing a consolidated view of DEI technology programs.
Not only does DEX create environments where employees have a choice in how they work, it breaks barriers that’ve been ingrained into traditional work settings – paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive workplace.