CIOIT Best PracticesIT GovernanceIT Staff & Team Building

How to Bridge IT’s Growing Generation Gap

Millennials could account for more than half of the workforce by 2020, so IT must change to accommodate the needs and expectations of this generation. But the place also has to stay livable for Generation X and Baby Boomers. How do you manage all that? In an article for CIO magazine, Minda Zetlin draws upon the insights of various experts on how IT can bridge the generation gap.

Managing Skills and Attitudes

With “go digital” being the edict driving IT right now, X’ers and Boomers will likely need to upskill themselves in order to stay relevant to the new technology landscape. Millennials however have more direct experience with digital applications and the digital mindset already, making them more immediately valuable in some cases. As an example, Zetlin points to the fact that “ERP giant” SAP brought on a 31-year-old to be its CIO back in April 2016.

Regardless, there are more tech jobs than people to fill them all, so IT needs to know what attitudes entice Millennials. Zetlin identifies three things Millennials want: (1) to be part of the big picture, (2) to work in a collaborative environment with frequent interaction, and (3) to not be bound by excessive rules. Pervading these desires is a belief that matching the right knowledge and skill sets is more important than weighing opinions by seniority.

That being said, it is best not to make assumptions about people based just on their age. At the end of the day, you are all just people getting through work together. Thus, you should still try to market a single vision for the IT unit:

People of all ages like to know that they’re working within a team toward a common objective. Bringing IT employees together around one vision and celebrating your wins as a group will help build a cohesive team. That begins with getting the word out, both to IT employees and to the organization at large. “The one thing I usually find about IT is that we’re not good at marketing,” [BMC Software’s Monika Fahlbusch] says. “We’re being asked to do more with less, and we’re doing a lot to drive innovation. There’s a lot to be celebrated.”

For a longer discussion, including the ways young and old might butt heads over authority, you can view the original article here:

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