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6 traps to avoid when closing the generation gap in communications

Nagi Kasinadhuni, General Manager, Communications, at Dimension Data APAC | April 20, 2016
Nagi Kasinadhuni of Dimension Data APAC talks about the six communications traps to avoid, especially when trying to engage three very distinct groups of individuals within an organisation – the Baby Boomers, Generation Xs, and Millennials.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

When it comes to segmenting the personas of different generations, we have a clear definition of the Baby Boomers, Generation Xs, and Millennials. We understand their values, cultures, and characteristics. What we sometimes forget is that these groups don't exist in separate, inviolate silos. They're working side by side within your organisation. They're your clients today and the future talent your business needs tomorrow.

This diverse group of people, all with seemingly disparate needs, creates a challenge for many businesses. How do your people work individually and in teams? Are they adapting to new technologies? Do you have a communications and collaboration strategy that supports your business ambitions?

We arrived at the six most common traps business falls into when it comes to communications and collaboration:

Trap #1: Moving too fast, too soon.
A common trap is that organisations are investing in expensive new technologies without thinking how they will match their current and future business needs. It is important to understand how their investments in technology are aligned to what the users really need. Based on this, they then can make purposeful investments that are relevant to their business; which will translate into better IT returns. Assessments, surveys and exposing the users to industry best practices can help organisations get a better handle on what users really need.

Trap #2: Taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
Do your employees have access to communications tools that they're familiar with - which also allow them to collaborate effectively? In a competitive and increasingly digital business world, you need to consider these two criteria when you look at leveraging your existing technology, and in making new investments.

Trap #3: Ignoring technological gaps and/or preferences.
Will Millennials be able to adopt to traditional platforms, like email, given that they're more fluent in social channels? On the other hand, will Gen Xs or Baby Boomers need more time to adjust to new technologies? This generational continuum extends throughout your organisation - and your strategy needs to support this diversity.

Trap #4: Leaving users to figure it out
How do you ensure that the investments made in technology and tools are being used? Adoption is key and it happens when you consciously and proactively engage the users. Enablement sessions, virtual buddies, cool tips, rewards for the most innovative use of the tools will drive usage and productivity.

Trap #5: Thinking inside the castle walls.
How do you communicate and collaborate with people outside your organisation - clients, partners, and suppliers? It is important that your business responds in a way that meets the preference and expectations of stakeholders outside of your business.


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