It could be argued that our workforce these days is dominated by what we call ‘the digital natives.’ These are people that have been exposed to technology for a good portion of their lifetime and thus, are very much used to it.
There are expectations for this population, loads of which include them being these great innovators that can quickly adapt to new technologies because of the interaction they’ve had with them. People assume that the excessively used technology outside of work translates into expectations inside of work. But some diners can’t cook… Just because you’re familiar with something doesn’t mean that you’re capable of inventing it or even dealing with it and anything related to it.
The integration of technology in our personal lives could well mean the opposite. Technology has made our life significantly easier, less random, more predictable. Think of how easy it is to get an answer online or using Siri, how less likely it is to get lost on the roads since the launch of Google and Apple maps. A recent study published on the World Economic Forum suggests that digital natives are not better equipped to innovate or to deal with uncertainty in the workplace. Another Gartner article discourages senior leadership from believing that this concept of millennials or digital natives is valid when making decisions.
We should be aware of the inherent biases we might have and not assume that any group of people – that being millennials, digital natives or digital immigrants – will be onboard with digital transformations and tech-related uncertainty. Neither should we assume that less effort is required to equip them for that journey. We should invest in developing all of our people in a way that enables them to rise up to ambiguous situations successfully.
Digital transformations are hard to implement any way you try. Make sure you give all of your people the guidance and support needed.