Minding the Gap: Management Strategies for Teams with Technology Gaps

August 27th, 2012

In a world in which technology advances at an exponential rate, employers are faced with a growing challenge: how to manage teams of employees who have different levels of capacity for understanding, operating and integrating technology into their fields. Without strategies to incorporate both the lightning-quick “millennials” (younger individuals who have grown up with, and adapt seamlessly to new technology) as well as the Baby Boomers, teams and companies can experience stagnation.

Here are several ways that strong leadership can lessen the technology gap:

Understand the effect of the technology gap on communication.

Teams cannot work together effectively without utilizing effective communication; unfortunately, according to one UCLA study, as much as 93% of communication is nonverbal, and this is where the office can become divided. More specifically, when employees communicate via technology (instant message, text message, email) there is no observable inflection, body language, or tone of voice–all of which have been vital for effective communication until very recently. Older employees might be offended that a younger person would email a question as opposed to asking it face to face, while younger employees could feel frustrated if they feel they are moving at a much faster pace than others in the office. Observe your team and listen to them; model your company’s ideals for effective communication and technology decorum.

Integrate both worlds.

One of the best ways to get a team working well is to make sure that each member feels valuable. And the only way to do that is, of course, to genuinely value each member’s skill set. Using this framework, encourage the mindset that the younger workers need to bolster their person-to-person skills and the older ones need to amp-up their working knowledge of pertinent technologies and social media. Offer teachable opportunities which will allow both groups to shine–as well as learn from each other. Provide feedback to your team about why both of these areas of business are invaluable, and go out of your way to make examples of employees who are exemplary in their ability to unite technological adeptness with excellent and effective writing and people skills.

Offer Incentives.

If your older employees have been doing their jobs well for years without the pervasive use of technologies, it can be difficult for them to identify a motivation for learning to use and incorporate those methods. Offering incentives for attending company-sponsored workshops and training based on social media and technologies as they pertain to your field is one effective way to encourage your staff to take advantage of those offerings.

Olympic Staffing can help you to find applicants who are motivated, hardworking, and committed to your company’s vision. Contact our staff to begin working with us on your staffing needs!