Bridging Generation Gaps for Future Success

Old Companies and New Technologies

ADP is best known for making Fridays a little sweeter ($$$) via paycheck delivery, but what you may not know is that the company is a pioneer in embracing change sparked by technology advances.

As organizations submerge themselves in the digital age, achieving convenience through tech innovation is a shared mission across many industries. Payroll companies are no exception to this culture shift.

Staying ahead of the curve is a challenge many enterprise companies fail to achieve, but this is not the case at ADP; they pay 1 in 6 of all workers in the United States.  

Stuart Sackman, Chief Technology Officer at ADP, is one of the lead innovators responsible for keeping this 68-year-old company from turning into…well, just any old company.

But how does he do it?

First, by understanding the generations.

Bridging Generation Gaps for Future Success

Staying “with it”

Like other successful business leaders, Stuart not only understands that the workplace is changing, but he understands that it is necessary to change along with it. AKA: innovation.

He summarized his key to success when he took the Wisdom Stage at The 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival.

“The only sure formula for long-term success is developing a diverse, empowered, engaged workforce with a relentless commitment to customers and innovation, and giving them the tools to get the job done.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the workplace looks quite different today compared to 70 years ago.

Closing Generation Gaps

Stuart illustrated just how different generations are in the workforce through metaphorical boats.

Wait, what?

You heard me. Here, let me break it down for you:

The Silent Generation (1925-1945)

Worked like a steamship. These are the people who operate with traditional workplace values. They had a set direction in their career, and most likely stayed at the same company their entire life until they received their pension.

The Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers (1946-1984)

Operate more like a sailing vessel. They are more dynamic and open to new opportunities depending on where the winds of change take them. In other words, they’re not necessarily looking to disrupt, but they are opportunists.

The Millennials (1985-1995)

As Stuart highlighted, over the next 10 years Millennials will almost entirely dominate the sales force. Millennials are the kayaks of the workforce waters–constantly navigating disruption and changing tides.

Unlike their preceding generations, Millennials do not share the same traditional values. They have a lower regard for hierarchical operations and greater value in autonomy and driving change.

Stuart explained that Millennials want work-life integration over work-life balance, and dynamic learning over training. They are a generation that values the size of their impact over the size of their paycheck. Additionally, they are insatiably hungry for what is next. They challenge the status quo and are not fixated on knowledge coming from the top.

Why should you care?

Companies of all sizes and development stages need to know how to motivate and communicate with their employees.

Whether you like it or not, Millennials are taking over the workforce, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Wait ‘til Gen Z comes (AKA iGen), then things will really get digital.

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