Has technology blurred the lines of a multigenerational workforce?

As per several reports and surveys, millennial employees (those between the ages of 26 and 41 this year) now make up the majority of the workforce.

multigenerational workforce
As workforce composition becomes more complex, the question is whether traditional segmentation based on a generational approach should remain the focus of future L&D and upskilling strategies. (Representational image)

By Geetika Goel, 

A seismic shift is taking place in today’s multigenerational workforce, as younger employees drive digital workforce transformation. As per several reports and surveys, millennial employees (those between the ages of 26 and 41 this year) now make up the majority of the workforce. This trend is changing how tech is being introduced, updated, and upgraded in organizations. These digital natives are leveraging their clout to propel technical changes that improve efficiency and productivity at the workplace. Furthermore, Gen Z employees (those turning 25 and younger) who grew up with mobile devices and used online tools to work and communicate for learning now expect similar types of digital interaction as they enter the workforce.

Because of the rapid advancements in technology, professionals must constantly reinvent themselves throughout their careers, necessitating the need for upskilling and reskilling. However, as you delve deeper, it becomes clear that the learning requirements for each sector will differ. As per a new report commissioned by Hero Vired among HR professionals, senior and mid-level managers, function heads, and CXOs, 71% of the respondents felt that upskilling with technology is a high priority while 91% from the IT/ITES sector saw this as a necessity. Manufacturing and customer service were two other industries that prioritized tech upskilling. All of these developments have increased the importance and visibility of the role of learning and development (L&D).

The learning requirements also vary by function. It may be prioritized based on business needs and strategic decisions, depending on the nature of the business. That is why it is critical for businesses to identify the right learning partners and for that they should focus on the course’s comprehensiveness, the institution’s legacy or brand value, the percentage of in-person or instructor-led training, and the type of certification they provide. However, this is easier said than done. The report also discovered, correctly, that as one moves up the corporate ladder, one’s eagerness to learn decreases. 53% of CXOs and 80% of senior management professionals believe that entry-level employees are eager to learn while 61 percent of CXOs and 63% of senior managers believe that their peers need to be pushed to participate in learning programs.

Another benefit of having a learning partner who can personalize these learning and upskilling programs is that it allows for inclusivity at all levels. When it comes to dealing with technology, baby boomers frequently feel left out and are apprehensive about catching up with digital natives. However, in an age when human-machine partnerships are becoming more common, it is necessary to have skills that make one irreplaceable in the workplace.

Surprisingly, the reportfound that tech professionals in retail, logistics, and hospitality still place a lower priority on tech upskilling. It shows that there’s still a lot of ground to cover for employees to realize the need and potential for growth through tech upskilling. It is also important to recognize that the learning styles of baby boomers differ from those of Millennials or Generation Z. While the former may prefer more in-person training and require a little more hand-holding than the latter in terms of technical knowledge, they frequently excel in domain expertise and soft skills, which are also important in organizations.

As workforce composition becomes more complex, the question is whether traditional segmentation based on a generational approach should remain the focus of future L&D and upskilling strategies. More importantly, to thrive in the era of rapid digital transformation, the topmost priority for organizations must be to have the right technology in place. This will create opportunities to effectively attract and retain new talent while also uniting diverse generations of employees.

(The author is Head of Technology, Hero Vired. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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