For post-Millennials, it's difficult to picture a world without the internet, smartphones and Netflix. Technological advancement in our lifetime has been a driving force of social change, productivity and economic growth.
The introduction of the iPod in 2001 was revolutionary; the ability to upload music files without the need to buy CDs changed the way we organised and listened to music. At the time, this technological breakthrough certainly caused a stir in the music industry. But for Generation Z employees, this is now second nature as we are accustomed to having all our needs catered for on one device.
Gone are the days of constantly relying on manual and paper-based processes to keep business ticking. Having the flexibility of sending emails and arranging video conferences has been crucial in saving time and speeding up business across the world.
Throughout my life, many teachers have said that growing up and going to school in their day was much harder. For instance, if I need an answer to any question, I’ve always been reliant on using Google first before asking someone or thinking to open a textbook. Growing up with IT classes in school and having coding courses available to students, it’s pretty evident that the technological sector is forever growing. And so, it’s difficult to imagine a time without tools like my laptop to help write an essay or revise for an exam.
For many firms, regular investment in employee skills as well as R&D has proved essential in order to remain competitive in the market. It could be argued that we are now living in a world in which robots and machines are taking over. But, we should no longer live in fear that automation will steal our jobs and livelihood. Instead, implementing technology in the workplace should be recognised for saving employees’ time so that they can reallocate their efforts to more purposeful tasks and activities.
Did you know that 35% of senior SMB finance leaders say that over-complicated processes cause the greatest inefficiency in their department, followed by wasted time (26%) and duplication (20%) – Vanson Bourne, 2019.
Investing in employee skills, like providing training into the latest technologies, is influential in improving staff retention rates. And for Boomers and Millennials – they’ll want to stay ahead of trends too – learning new processes and adapting as newer technologies emerge.
The only trap I see that technology possesses is that it can be a means of escaping reality. It’s easy to forget human interaction, especially when exchanging emails or texts on a regular basis. In the past, I have been guilty of hiding behind my phone when I could have offered input in person during a social situation.
For others, the fixation of checking up on emails late at night can be addictive. But what I’ve learned in my six months in the workplace, is that sometimes complex tasks can be achieved much quicker when meeting individuals on a face-to-face basis.
My biggest piece of advice to all firms is to always ensure that the technologies ingrained are designed to meet the expectations of Generation Z employees. It’s essential to keep up with recent trends in the workplace in order to remain competitive within a dynamic market. Automation should not be feared in the workplace, instead, it should be embraced and adapted to reduce your manual-based processes in the long-term.