Technology and Generation Z
In analysis / By Connor Silman / 12 December 2019
Thinking back to 10 years ago, could you have predicted how your business would evolve over the next decade? If I think back to 10 years ago, I was 11 years old and had just started secondary school. During my time at school, I was introduced to iPads, Office 365 and a wealth of other productivity tools; or as they would later be known, remote working solutions. As a young man eager to learn, I became obsessed with using the latest technology that the school had to offer.
Due to the fast-paced nature of emerging technology and young people immersing themselves in technology quicker than ever before, schools have been under increased pressure to keep up with digital natives. Integrating technology in the classroom is not always easy when you factor in budget constraints and larger classroom sizes to accommodate. However, the education sector has managed to adopt more modern ways of working far quicker than businesses who have adopted the same technology or are yet to do so.
Technology and Schools
Schools and colleges have acknowledged that the ways in which students learn has changed over time. The tech saviness of Gen Zers means teachers have to adapt their ways of teaching - for example for example through the use of computer-based programmes. This is something that businesses should also take stock of when assessing and reflecting upon their organisation’s technological journey.
I wanted to find out why schools are always ahead of the game when it comes to technology, so I spoke to Tim Farr, The Director of IT at Sherborne Girls School.
“Here at Sherborne Girls we are acutely aware of the role of technology in the development of our pupils and our staff.
“We have invested heavily in infrastructure to facilitate mobile learning across the campus and all our teachers are equipped with a Microsoft Surface Go to aid with their teaching and administration. The school is fully onboard with Office365, using Teams and OneNote for classroom teaching and school administration.
“Regarding our pupils, we request that they have a pen-enabled device themselves, preferably a Microsoft Surface so that digital learning can take place across all areas of the school. This has opened a host of possibilities, most importantly collaborative working.
“We are heavily invested in technology, ensuring that our students are familiar with industry standard software solutions to prepare them for life after school. It is fundamental that we prepare our students for their working future and the use and familiarization of modern technology is paramount.”
The Delay Challenge
When looking at their current technology stack, many business owners will discover that nothing has changed since 2010 and there are a variety of reasons for this; they could be cost-related, or the company may feel that their current systems are reliable enough.
However, as we enter 2020, we will start to see more and more issues with these older systems and technologies. Businesses will not only leave themselves open to security threats and lack of support from the providers who have since moved on, but will also limit the talent and creativity of younger generations who have joined the workforce. In addition, we will start to hire employees from Generation Z who have more experience with the newest technologies than any other generation before them, which means businesses could gain a competitive advantage over those who are not embracing the newest technologies if they get on board first. Companies should take advantage of this and adopt new technologies early, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.
As your organisation starts to employ younger workers, you will find that there is an expectation for you to have up-to-date technology. This is what the younger generations are used to and have grown up with; after all, many of them can’t remember a time with no internet! Without the latest technology innovations in place, millennials and employees from Generation Z will find it hard to harness their creativity and become more productive if they are using older legacy systems.
Deciding not to invest in technology will ultimately affect your business’ ability to attract and retain young talent. The new generation of workers are more inclined to apply for roles that offer opportunities to work with the latest technology, within organisations who embrace modern workplace solutions such as remote working.
Adopting modern workplace fundamentals and solutions will put you a step ahead of your competitors when it comes to talent retention and productivity. This is because your staff will value the opportunity and freedom to work anywhere, using the latest technology, whilst also having the ability to be creative with their work. This will change how your business operates and evolves as new ideas will not be held back by dated systems, hard repetitive tasks can easily be automated and your employee’s creativity can be completely utilised. Not only will this increase the appeal for younger workers to join your company, it will also give you the opportunity to focus on your business goals and importantly, meet them.
I sat down with Ben Wilson, CEO at Grovelands Recruitment, who had this to say about using technology to better the workforce:
“At Grovelands, technology is used to set our people free to deliver outstanding client service. As a challenger Consultancy, our millennial workforce is constantly on the move, but using Surface Pros and the Microsoft 365 bundle allows our people to collaborate efficiently and securely from remote locations. There’s no doubt that this leading-edge technology has added huge value to the work we do for our clients AND it helps us attract and retain the best talent.”
The Future Today
Start thinking about the future today. Picture what you want your business to look like in 10 years, or even the next two years, and see what you can do to take advantage of the drive and creativity of the next working generation. To plan strategically, you will need to incorporate the ideas from the new generation entering the workforce so that you can build your business into a new generation powerhouse.
Ask yourself this - do you want to be stuck in 2010 as you go into 2030?
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