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How to get Gen X employees to use Gen Y’s technology? (Part 2)


GenerationXUsingTechAs I mentioned in my last blog post, if given an opportunity, Gen X employees can learn new technologies and improve productivity of your business. In this blog I will talk about the practical approach of how to better train Gen X employees. But before I talk about that, let me ask you one question. As a Manager or as a Leader, what do you think when it comes to training Gen X employees of your company? Let me help you. Most of you might be thinking of the following:

* Gen X employees are technophobic.

* They’re resistant to almost any changes in how they work.

* They require too much hand-holding and training compared to Gen Y team members.

* They insist on doing things “old school.”

Before you say that Gen X employees are old school or technophobic, remember that they are the people who put a man on the moon and gave us a computer at every desk. Most of the Gen X people are not afraid of technology, they just don’t have the same relationship with it that Gen Y people do. Gen Y people are “technological people” – if you will. Some of them hardly even write anything anymore as most of them use computers to describe their thoughts.

Let me tell you one real story. In my last job, I used to work under a Gen X Manager. She was very talented and intelligent individual. People used to take tips from her all over the organization for her Management style. But she had one problem. She was used to using Excel for Project Management instead of other technological advanced tools, made for Project Management. During that time, I was given an opportunity to lead a team of 5 and finish one project. I had to provide my Project Plan for the same purpose. Guess what happened? Being from Gen Y, I created my Project Plan in Microsoft Project. She was very surprised at first, as no one else had used this tool before in her group. She insisted on using Excel for the reporting of the weekly status. But instead of doing that I talked her in to providing a basic training program for Microsoft Project. The deal was simple, I got a chance to present the new technology in front of the entire team, if they don’t like it they don’t use it. I knew that if I get her team’s approval then I might stand a good chance. Guess what happened next? After that training, she was really excited about this tool. It was not me who changed her working style other than convincing her to let me give the training. I think those advantages that came with this new tool convinced her to change her working style. Now, she uses Microsoft Project as her primary tool for Project Management.

Thus, if you are serious about training your Gen X employees to adopt to new technologies, you should show them actual, practical examples of people who use these tools and the results they get. If you want to teach them how to use skype for talking to your remote employees, then don’t just give them skype installer, show them how to use it, and let them have some feel for it. Trust me, they will get used to it. This doesn’t mean that we have to spoon feed them. With availability of new tools like “Google”, they can learn lot of stuff by themselves. In fact, Gen X people tend to learn on their own and prefer to learn from live people as opposed to recorded tutorials, like Gen Y.

Don’t just put “learning new tools” as a performance measurement criteria. Give them a good reason to change their methods, show them how to use the new tool, give them time to practice, give plenty of encouraging feedback and reward the change. When you do all these, you’ll be amazed how well Gen X and Gen Y employees will use these tools and make your business even more efficient.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2010 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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How to get Gen X employees to use Gen Y’s technology? (Part 1)


GenerationXOne of the biggest question that most of the businesses are facing in the 21st century is – Can we train Gen X employees to use new technology? We certainly need Gen X employees in the organization to benefit from their valuable experiences. But at the same time we want to make sure that they are utilizing all the new available tools to improve efficiency of the business. If you are thinking that Gen X employees can’t be trained to use current technology then you might not be alone. As far as my opinion is concerned, I personally think that its nothing but a common myth. I believe that for any team to work efficiently, every member of the team needs to use the tools at their disposal, and if you don’t give Gen X people the benefit of the doubt, you’re putting them, and your whole team, at a disadvantage.

I agree that Gen X employees can be reluctant to adopt new gadgets and frequently struggle to learn new technologies. But the trick is to get them used to these new technologies, and help them understand how the new software or equipment ties in to the work that they are doing, and how it can improve their productivity by using these new tools, and then give them the chance to actually learn it. Bear in mind that there are exceptions to every generalization, and some folks in every age group are way out ahead of the pack.

If you are a fan of any leadership blogs, like me, then you must have at least heard this once – “The best way to motivate employees is to show them how their work fits in to the organizational goals”. So, why can’t we adopt the same approach for getting them used to these new tools? Why can’t they learn tools of Generation Y? Just show your Gen X employees how these new tools can make their life easier, train them, and give them time to experiment with it. I can guarantee that – with this approach they are more likely to learn new technologies and improve your business efficiency.

I hope my article was helpful and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2010 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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