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Save Your Diversity Ship from Sinking During the Coronapocalypse

Sep 09, 2020

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  • EDITORIAL TEAM Talent Management Institute
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We were inflamed about work-life balance and thrilled about a four-day work week. We wrote columns, did surveys, and expressed passionate opinions. We dreamt of a better workplace – The Future of Work, we called it.

Then COVID hit! Boundaries smudged overnight. First, it looked like a shock, then a temporary disruption, and then a permanent impact. It took us months to make sense of things, to know and accept that this unwanted visitor was here to stay.

As we come to terms with the reality, we understand that COVID-19 has smashed the glorious picture we took decades to frame for the future of work and the workplace.

But not all is lost. For, now we have a fresh canvas and the right tools to repaint the picture of our dreams. And we can bring to the forefront all the brilliant elements we had relegated to the background in the past.

In this article, we will see how Talent Managers can create a truly inclusive digital experience for all their varied generations.

What Amalgamation of Generations Entails

COVID-19 hastened the progress to the future of work. It hustled the snailing digitization and we found ourselves doing more online than we ever did or we’d thought we’d do.

And while we do so, the gaps become ever so prominent. The widest one being something that we prided ourselves for – the growing diversity at the workplace.

The modern workplace is a melting pot for many different generations. And they all come with a different set of experiences and expectations. Here’s how the expectations have evolved over the years:

1980s

Baby boomers started with mainframes. Life was simple and so was their digital experience. They logged in to their terminal, got apps to choose from, and received snackable bits of additional information like the company news or general news in general.

The terminal received the information from data centers, which were mostly independent.

1990s

The baton was passed over to Gen X, and data seeped into personal devices. Speed took over from simplicity. Personal computers brought the power to store applications, and data and the Internet brought information on the fingertips.

With greater exposure came greater risk – from virus, trojans, phishing, and more.

2000s

Gen Z and Gen Y received their groundwork done. They blossomed in a world of digital choices and didn’t know a world otherwise. Applications and data were consumerized and Facebook and Twitter greatly upped the user expectations with their speed and performance. The user paid great value to the look of her feed and sought personalized relevant information sorted right on top.

Personalization became the key.

Post Coronapocalypse – The New Future of Work

Until the coronavirus hit, somehow organizations toiled to keep these generations knitted together in the physical office space. But now, as everything goes digital, managing multiple generations becomes a trickier task.

So how do Talent managers weave their systems and processes in a way to bring the best digital experience across multiple generations?

Each of these generations has different expertise and expectations from the applications and data they are served. One solution to this need has emerged in the form of a hybrid cloud.

# 1. Begin with asking relevant questions

Before going forward with any decision, ask these questions framed by Deloitte:

  • What do employees require to effectively connect to the company?
  • What must the company enable for employees to feel empowered and motivated to continually evolve and innovate how they do their work?
  • What do employees expect to be able to do for themselves in managing both work and personal administrative obligations?

#2. Choose technology wisely

Don’t add technologies for the sake of innovation. See if they are necessary, useful, and solve a problem. Adding too many technologies can confuse and frustrate employees.

Create personas of your employees with high digital deftness and those with difficulty in handling technology. Use this as a benchmark while choosing or creating digital solutions.

One solution is to set up a “customizable employee portal” wherein employees can create personalized layouts for themselves. They can have all the necessary tools there and can use what they need and when they need it.

Evaluate the ease of use and features of your videoconferencing tools. Millennials prefer a Facebook-like work portal for apps, information, communication, files, and tasks. Microsoft Teams and Citrix’s Workspace are currently facilitating this kind of collaboration, work features, and customization.

# 3. Prevent a digital culture shock

If you transform too quickly, you can create discomfort for your baby boomers and Gen-Xers. It can also give a digital culture shock to other team members.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggests breaking big changes into smaller digestible bites. They recommend creating small task forces with specific, ambitious, time-bounded goals and detaching them from the larger organization”.

# 4. Boost your cybersecurity

Plan how you are going to store vital information, or it may get lost over time. Use these action points to improve cybersecurity:

  • Assess risks and identify the soft spots that need immediate attention.
  • Build a resilient workforce, improve tools, and boost authentication.
  • Update your processes and communication.
  • Assess the security of your videoconferencing tools.
  • Identify those small measures that can make a big difference in your security.

Why a holistic digital experience is important

Digital transformation, employee engagement, and employee experience have become close-knit. A better employee experience leads to better digital adaptation, says CIO Magazine, calling it “the digital transformation linchpin” and backing their statement with data insights. Any digital transformation that fails to meet employee expectations is likely to fall back in the adaptation phase.

A Harvard Business Review study found that organizations that invest in upping their employee experience report greater productivity, profitability, and employee happiness. They are also 28 times more likely to enter the ‘Most Innovative Companies’ list by Fast Company and 11.5 times more likely to be listed in Glassdoor’s ‘Best Places to Work’.

Are you giving your talent a choice to customize their experience or is your technology a forced feed to all?

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