How to Approach a Workplace Strategy for Digital Natives

The new generation of employees grew up with technology, and as digital natives they expect companies to use various new technologies in the workplace. This means promoting digital literacy in the workplace is essential to appeal to digital natives and to avoid falling behind. Here’s a closer look at digital literacy and digital natives, as well as tips on how to make use of younger employee’s experience with technology in the workplace.

What is digital literacy?

Digital literacy is the ability to use technology in a variety of ways at work, at school or in one’s personal life, such as:

  • Finding, using, and critically evaluating information.
  • Curating data and media sources.
  • Communicating, collaborating, and participating in online environments.
  • Managing your online identity and personal security and privacy.
  • Consuming and creating online content.

Who are digital natives?

Digital native is a term coined by Marc Prensky in 2001 used to describe people who have grown up using the Internet, social media, mobile devices, and other modern technologies. They’re comfortable with technology at a young age and expect to be connected with it at all times, from the devices they carry to the clouds and services they use. Many children, teenagers, and young adults in the first world are considered to be digital natives because they mostly communicate and learn via computers, social media, and texting. This includes Generation Y (aka Millennials) – born between 1981 and 1997, and Generation Z (aka the iGeneration) – born after 1997.

Almost 50% of workers today consider themselves to be digital natives, and by 2025 this will increase to 75%.

How to create a productive working environment for digital natives

1. Use cloud computing technologies

Digital natives store their music, photos and data in the cloud, so you should let younger employees store their work in the cloud. Consider switching from legacy on-premises technology to cloud computing technology with a subscription-based model. Migrating to the cloud can help increase productivity and reduce employee turnover.

2. Work remotely by maintaining and monitoring work through online channels

Digital natives work anywhere, any time and on any device, so give younger employees the opportunity to work remotely. Have them use workplace focused mobile apps such as Slack or Flock to maintain and monitor their work. This can also help facilitate a better sense of collaboration, and allow for them to communicate by sharing links, images and online resources more easily.

Further, for digital natives, they’re most likely to use online channels for all levels of communication, so incorporate these channels into your organisation’s everyday workflow. This will allow them to communicate using video or chat between various devices, and to collaborate effectively with others on a project. They can also send instant messages and transmit text, video, audio, and images to colleagues. Additionally, Skype can be used for a video interview during the hiring process.

3. Use online resources and apps for training

Digital natives grew up in an era where they can take courses online, so consider using online resources and apps for workplace training. For example, you can create social networking online groups where younger employees can interact and share ideas. Also create a page for your online training course and post links to articles, videos, games, simulations, activities, live events, and other online training resources.

What’s more, integrate training apps into your program – they’ll allow younger employees to build their skills, access online training materials, and get some informal learning on-the-go. They can even use their mobile devices at work to receive online training support. Make sure your online training course can be accessed on different devices, such as a laptop, desktop, iPad, and smartphone.

4. Don’t shy away from giving feedback via email

Unlike older employees, digital natives are more accustomed to giving casual rather than formalised feedback online, meaning they’re more likely to accept feedback over email rather than expecting it face-to-face. So allow younger employees to use email as a means to both give and receive feedback. Keep in mind, however, that digital natives aren’t as comfortable at giving feedback as older generations, and will need training to develop the skills to give it effectively.

5. Be aware of your social media presence when recruiting

As the majority of new recruits for most businesses will be digital natives, it’s important to remember that they use social media on a daily basis. This increases the likelihood that their first interactions with brands will have been through social media platforms they follow. This also increases the chance they if they’re looking into your organisation as a potential employer, they’re more likely to research you through social media first.

This makes it all the more important that any of your potential recruits should get a good first impression through your social media platforms. This can be accomplished through making sure your social media platforms reflect the tone, professionalism and vibe of your workplace.

Improve digital literacy in the workplace with Deakin’s micro-credentials

Being tech-savvy, digital natives are more likely to embrace technology to drive both productivity and profitability in the workplace. If you adopt this mindset and create a digital workplace and culture, you’ll help keep your company relevant and ensure business success. Adapting to digital natives in the workplace can be challenging, however with the right technology implemented you can make the most of their skills. You can also upskill digital literacy in the workplace with Deakin’s range of credentials. For more information contact us today.