What’s Your Secret Weapon for Supporting Multi-generational Needs in a Digital World?

Super user
Soo’- per yoo’- zer
Expert on a new process, typically in a workplace setting.
“When our company’s digital transformation was happening, super users were the ones who answered questions from frustrated employees. Super users aren’t a substitute for the help desk, but rather a more personal extension of it.”

Now that we have defined what a super user user is, take a moment to answer the following questions (feel free to enter your answers in the comment section below, we would love to get a feel for our audience):

Do you consider your self a super user?

Are you aware of who in your organization is a super user?

Did you answer no to the questions above, but are intrigued?

Super users are the glue that connects the dots for others based on what they know about new roles, responsibilities, and business processes. They take the mystery out of changing lines of communication. Because they are tuned in to the needs of the front line, super users should have a seat at the table as you assess the preferences of the generations in your workplace.

Digital transformations are happening because leaders need to be able to improve the way they use data to make smarter, more impactful decisions. Super users must support and supplement the messages from leadership with personalized communications and activities, using the various channels available and preferred by fellow employees.

While generational traits aren’t an exact match for individual preferences, taking a look at the ways these groups prefer to work will help super users communicate more effectively in a digital world. The following are a list of the generations and challenges and solutions to help super users in the New Year:

Challenge: Many baby boomers have committed work routines to memory and are uneasy with the thought of their work environment being turned upside down digitally.

Potential solution: Super users should come up with group activities such as a fun yet realistic guided role-play for a new data presentation scenario. Design the activity to enable learners to practice drafting responses to new types of inquiries and to understand “why this way, why now.” Afterwards, be sure to provide additional time for independent practice and feedback.

Challenge: Gen Xers may be more comfortable with the idea of changing roles and processes, since their working years have been marked by so many technological advances. However, they still will need time to process what changes will mean for their role—not only what the change can bring to them, but also what they can bring to the change.

Potential solution: Super users could consider a challenge where a realistic problem is presented with minimal guidelines and a time limit. The goal is to allow small groups or individuals to design and present a possible solution, given the parameters. This friendly competition allows for exploration and will get creative juices flowing.

 According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2014, 75% of the workforce will be millennials by 2025.

Challenge: Millennials are not only used to a rapid pace of change, they also expect that each wave of change will bring improvements, streamlining their processes and incorporating the latest technologies.

Potential solution: Super users should design group activities to be technology-enabled and have social components, yet still be individually evaluated, since this is the millennials’ way of working.

Also known as Generation Z or the iGeneration.

Challenge: This generation depends heavily on their personal devices for connecting to others. They prefer point-of-need access to information versus a more structured curriculum. They seek out visual, graphical stimuli versus lengthy text.

Potential solutions: Since this generation values connections so highly, super users should design collaborative activities where participants won’t be face to face, yet points are awarded for their collective decision-making effectiveness.

Do you have super users who will advocate for each of the generations in your workforce? Fully utilize their ability to help navigate in the digital era and ask for their input because they are probably already hearing the concerns of the various generations who work alongside them. We need to be preparing now to ensure our workplace is equipped to handle the needs of the next generation.

To wrap up, please take a moment to review and respond to a final question: What are your predictions for workplace preferences that the Next Generation will value and seek out? For example: Meaningful virtual reality experiences, truly global collaboration opportunities, etc. Please respond in the comments section below and we will include them in a follow-up blog post in 2018.

Ellen Kumar

Ms. Kumar is a Solution Architect with GP Strategies, and has served in roles ranging from Account Executive, to Operations Director, to Project Manager/Training Consultant. Prior to GP Strategies, she worked for University of Dayton Research Institute and GE Aircraft Engines (now GE Aerospace). She holds an M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from University of Dayton.

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