No matter what business you’re in, the way you and your colleagues work has likely changed significantly in recent years and will continue to change in the years ahead.
There are a number of reasons for that. First, the rapid rate at which technology is changing every aspect of our daily lives will only continue to evolve and improve. With these changes, the makeup of your workforce will shift as well, as digitally native Millennials and Gen Z prepare for their ascent.
In this environment, retaining talent and remaining competitive will be key challenges for business leaders, and technology will have a big role to play in meeting them.
Employees Won’t Wait for Better Tech
Already, many business leaders are finding that the newest generations of employees aren’t the disengaged, entitled slackers that many corners of the media have portrayed them to be. Not only do Millennial and Gen Z employees want to get ahead, in many cases, they’re also willing to bring on their own tech—and their own apps—to get the job done. If you don’t already have an integrated stack of modern productivity apps, your employees are likely using them anyway with free versions of tools such as Slack, Trello, and more.
Digital natives are loyal to the tools that make their jobs easier, but a bring-your-own-tech (BYOT) policy exposes businesses to all kinds of risk in the process. In many cases, that risk comes down to company data being shared or stored on unapproved or unsecured apps; if you don’t know what your people are using, you can’t protect it.
The other side of that coin is the risk that employees will leave the company if they feel the tools available to them are slowing down or hurting their ability to do their best work. While it’s unlikely to be the sole reason that someone leaves a job, the opportunity to learn new technologies and have the most effective tools to do their work efficiently is a powerful motivator for many employees.
Don’t Let the Generation Gap Undermine Success
Adopting new tech isn’t the simple resolution to future-proofing your office either. Unfortunately, the solution is much more complex. Although younger employees are enthusiastically adopting any method they can to improve their efficiency and connectivity, many older workers might fear being left behind as change sweeps across your organization. At the same time, IT directors must navigate the complexities involved with getting the plethora of new tools to work together, which can be a significant obstacle.
Consider how the rise of Slack has disrupted internal communications, all but replacing e-mail in many cases. That can be a jarring experience for someone who’s spent the majority of his or her career communicating via e-mail, but it has ultimately changed the way we communicate in the office.
Slack is another great example of culture change resulting from enterprise technology, as it brought many other solutions into one place and is now used to integrate with everything from the Google Suite to project management software such as Asana or Jira.
With this in mind, it’s important for leaders to ensure that tech silos don’t spring up within their organization and that new tools are easy to navigate and integrate into daily operations and existing platforms. Many of these issues can be mitigated by providing adequate training, assigning resources to help with issues, and even finding tech mentors within your teams.
People Want to Feel Connected
In the midst of all this technological change, one trend stands out extremely clear: No matter what generation you’re dealing with, your employees want to feel connected to your organization, to your customers, and to one another. That’s especially important in an environment where an increasing number of employees are working remotely, average employee tenures are falling, and trust in institutions is declining.
Against that backdrop, it’s imperative that your employees feel connected, supported, and able to communicate easily with one another.
One solution for that is making it easier for people to schedule and conduct face-to-face meetings. When faced with the prospect of getting a team together at the same time, it can often seem easier to just send an e-mail. But the benefits of meeting face-to-face—even on screen—can’t be overstated.
From better communication to fostering a sense of connection among colleagues, the benefits of better meetings can be seen in many different ways throughout your organization: People who feel connected tend to come up with better ideas together, make better decisions, and have higher retention rates.
As businesses become more dispersed, the future of work has the potential to be more isolated for individuals, making us even more reliant on technology to bridge those gaps. Choosing the right solutions, rolling them out appropriately, and supporting their utilization will be key challenges for leaders in the years ahead.
|Gabriele Ottino is the chief executive officer at Doodle, a position he’s held since 2016. He’s responsible for leading the company’s global business development strategy and expansion as an enterprise-ready SaaS tool.
Prior to joining Doodle, Gabriele held leadership roles at Accenture and Tamedia, Doodle’s parent company, where he helped define business strategy and identify strategic investment areas. Gabriele has a proven track record of achieving significant success growing and scaling companies over the 10+ years he has held leadership positions.
Gabriele studied physics at EPFL in Switzerland and is a graduate of the London Business School earning an MBA in entrepreneurial management. In his spare time, Gabriele enjoys mountain biking throughout Zurich where he lives with his family.