So, you think Technology is Just for The Youth?
The general assumption is that ageing employees fall short of updating their tech skills and they can’t overcome the technical knowledge gap. But that assumption might be wrong. The older generation might be much better at updating their tech skills than previously believed.
Technology Among Aging Population and Employees.
According to the Pew Research Centre, smartphone adoption among seniors has quadrupled in the last five years. But it’s not only smartphones. Seniors are consuming more information through the internet and social media. They are using broadband and tablets more every day. It shows that the ageing population isn’t falling behind in technology as previously assumed. Another Pew Research Centre study showed that 73% of the 50-64 age group and 46% of the 65+ age group uses a smartphone as their primary device in the US.
There was another surprising study about older workers that was published in CIO magazine. In this study, cloud storage company Dropbox with the help of London-based market research firm Ipsos Mori surveyed 4,000 IT workers. According to the results, the types of technology used by people older than 55 years were slightly higher (4.9 devices per week) than the overall average (4.7 devices per week).
Another surprising part of the survey was that only 25% of the 55-year-old and higher workers found workplace technology stressful while the number was way higher at 36% for the 18-34 age group. It contradicts the stereotype that older workers are reluctant to start using new technology.
What it Means for Businesses Employing Aging Workers.
Obviously, the ageing population adopting more technology and ageing workers being able to adapt to workplace technology quickly is good news for businesses.
Here are some obvious benefits:
- Digital Communication
Businesses don’t need to worry about older workers not being able to use digital mediums. Companies can easily implement better email and messaging services. They can even go for collaboration tools like Slack. Older workers who have been using email and social media should be able to learn the new channels of communication very quickly.
- Deploying New Technologies
The business landscape is always changing, and new technologies are being introduced every day.
Companies with large ageing demographics might be hesitant about adopting new technologies due to the concern that older workers will fall behind. However, the data seems to indicate that ageing workers are quite good at using technologies like smartphones and tablets. They are even moving into social media to keep up with friends and families. So, companies should feel confident about deploying any new technology, whether it is smartphones or augmented reality.
- Creative Freedom and Better Performance
Ageing workers who are given the opportunity to learn new technical tools and implement them in a creative way feel a sense of achievement. This leads to better performance and more value for the business. So, businesses have an opportunity to update the skills of their ageing employees and improve the overall performance of their organisation. It can be a motivational factor for the current staff.
The changing tech landscape has always been a point of worry for businesses with large ageing staff.
However, these workers seem to adjust well to new technologies like smartphones and the internet. So, businesses have nothing to worry about. Instead, they have the opportunity to upgrade their technical tools to create excitement and purpose among their ageing employees. Embracing change and trusting the abilities of their workers can only lead to excellent results for businesses.