Whether you want to blame the launch of Facebook in 2004, the 2007 introduction of the iPhone or the boom of cloud technologies in just the past few years, it’s hard to ignore the fact that offices – and the people who fill them – are operating differently than they ever have before.
Just look around and you’ll see different demographics of employees driven to reach their goals in a variety of different ways. In some cases, their workstyles may be far from familiar to your methods or experiences as a leader. But this is the talent that’s helping you and your company succeed, so it’s critical that you understand how employees in today’s new world of work operate – not just by themselves, but how they collaborate with other types of workers.
We’ve identified five different types of workers intermingled across offices today. Some personas you recognize. Others sound familiar. Some, you may have only been warned of. And while people are complex and may not fit neatly into one of these buckets, these personas should help guide you as you work to better understand today’s changing workforce.
Millennials. Generation Y. By now you’ve heard the names and are beginning to understand how this oft-described “entitled” group is impacting the workplace. Simply put, they’ve tapped into different workplace and social abilities that no other generation before them has. These workers are seen as being the most technological and social media savvy, but also perceived as being difficult to work with, or even lonely. Of course, this stereotype is usually far from the truth. This is a dynamic and important group that company leaders need to observe and engage with, as millennials are moving up the ranks quickly. In fact, 87% have already elevated to decision-making roles in just the past five years – by far the highest of any generation during this time. Millennials believe their ideas can fundamentally change the way things are done and they aren’t afraid to push innovation forward. Good leaders should recognize that this group is a treasure trove of creativity, waiting to be tapped to help connect you with your customers.
On-the-go Mobile Pro
Nearly 30 percent of employees are what Forrester Research calls “anytime, anywhere workers” – those who work from multiple locations with multiple apps and devices. These are employees rarely seen at the office, but when they are spotted, it’s with a mobile device glued to their hand. Digital labor is no longer a trend but a reality, meaning companies need to adapt, adopt and invest in the right tools and technologies to support their needs of an ever-growing mobile staff. These tools should include the infrastructure and workflow processes that allow these digital workers to access, share, and transform the data that they, and their coworkers, rely on to stay connected and get the job done.
Employees who behave like an entrepreneur within the confines of their existing role are often referred to as intrapreneurs – those who provide surprising or unexpected value to their companies in a way that capitalizes on new business opportunities. Often responsible for product innovation, Intrapreneurs are an emerging segment of the workforce that aren’t afraid of stepping up to the plate and taking charge. While some companies might see this as a practice that doesn’t fit their culture or organizational structure, others believe in the value it brings to engaging employees and ultimately, retaining them. Intrapreneurs are risk takers who aren’t afraid to take chances and shake things up within an organization. Despite their bullish outlook, management still needs to take a top-level approach at fostering an environment in which these workers can thrive, or risk losing them to more agile companies.
The Data Analytic
Often seen as introverts, it’s finally time for the analytic personality to shine – not that they necessarily want to. The office analytic sees figures, stats and data as an essential element to any project or task – a perfect fit for today’s data-centric and interested corporate world. That doesn’t mean these workers are quiet pushovers, however. Instead, they are forceful users and believers in the value of data-backed evidence. These workers are the office advocates who ensure your company references its data footprint to make proper and smarter decisions regarding future spending, technology or strategy.
Seasoned incumbents – those employees who have been in the workforce long enough to remember the days before computers – understand that work is work and not necessarily a place to engage one’s personal life and interests. These might be the veteran office accountants who sit down each day, punch numbers and track spending in a familiar, but perhaps inefficient ways because they are intimidated, confused or just have no interest in their company’s newly implemented technologies. Investing in technology – and more importantly, technology education – will help employees better understand and embrace new, innovative processes that can positively impact the outcome of their work.
Are there other types of workers roaming about your office – perhaps some challenging, interesting or simply fun personalities that have a major impact on your day? Let us know in the comment section below!