Utilising technology for changing workforce demographics

The way we work, live, and learn is shifting quickly with the world around us. Continually fluctuating economic conditions and a steady stream of technological breakthroughs are combining in unexpected ways to disrupt marketplaces and create unimagined business opportunities. The challenge for today’s HR is how best to develop the capability within their organisation that will allow them to stay ahead of the disruption curve.

Between an ageing workforce and the influx of digital natives, HR practitioners are now tasked with tailoring tools and processes to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce, regarding their digital literacy. The millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, is set to form 50% of the global workforce by 2020. At the same time, people are living longer, and older generations are either not in a financial position to retire, or they want to carry on working.

The next generation of employees will be prepared for a working world where decisions are made quickly, mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and their efforts are consistently rewarded. While the traditional employment model was based on a mutual exchange of commitment and loyalty between employer and employee, the new workforce understands that very little is promised to them by their employer unless they perform, and vice versa.

These younger workers will also be entering the workforce with a more finely-tuned understanding of digital business tools than their older colleagues. That’s quite a departure from tradition, as new workers for countless generations have always been taught how to use their tools of trade by older more experienced workers. To ensure that experienced employees aren’t feeling left out culturally or professionally, it’s up to HR managers to ensure they’re brought up to speed with new digital platforms through appropriate training that’s tailored to their needs.

Fortunately, digital innovation is also driving significant changes in the organisational learning and development field that could drive the new shared digital knowledge we’ll need from our entire workforce. Gamification has the potential to deliver big results in embedding new knowledge by taking the concepts of game design to deliver engaging learning experiences

Likewise, social learning tools take elements of popular social media platforms and contextualise them within an organisation, allowing team members to share and collaborate on content. By also combining the concepts of gamification and social learning into a mobile platform, organisations can significantly increase employee engagement with learning and development programs.

Ultimately, it’s about ensuring that your entire workforce is prepped and ready for a digital world. As HR leaders, you need to be leading from the front by embracing new digital tools for communication, collaboration and digital administration across all of your HR functions. Digital transformation is as much about culture as it is about technology and, as the owners of culture within every organisation, HR is responsible for ensuring that every employee, regardless of their age or experience, feels like they’re part of the digital family.

This article was written by Presence of IT's Sarah Wojciechowski on LinkedIn.