There is a common perception that baby boomers are tech illiterate because as millennials take center stage in the workforce technology now means social media or a hot new mobile application. Unfortunately, people tend to forget that boomers were on the cutting edge of creating Information Technology (IT) and many have been involved in the transition of manual processes to automated ones leveraging technology. Consider the ATM, voicemail, cell phone, internet, internet protocol, fax machines, desktops computers, laptops, Apple MAC, Windows, networking, branded LANs, WANS, Routers, enterprise software and computer programming and the foundation for simplified computer languages; — boomers were involved in all of these plus more. In short the very foundation for automation was built by many of the boomers and generations following have continued to brilliantly innovate with this foundation in place. The boomers have both enabled and embraced.
So what’s my point? Even though there are millions of technology savvy millennials entering the workforce not all of them want to pursue a career in technology engineering or sales. This means entry-level sales and engineering in the technology industry is experiencing a real shortage of talent. A great example of this is something we find in technology sales. Entry level new hires are finding themselves moving up the chain quickly and corporations allow this because they need talent in these areas as well. One question that needs to be asked, however, is are these “superstars” ready? There is a prime opportunity here to bridge technology literate boomers with technology literate millennials and reach levels of achievement in the industry that are golden.
When you take into consideration the boomers input at the inception of technology as well as their vast experience in sales, management and implementation, it is easy to see how much of an asset they could be to your technology business. Some companies are starting to bridge this talent. Are you one of them?
These are some ideas that, with the proper sponsorship, could have an immediate material impact on your top line growth while developing loyal and well trained employees
- Find boomers with the right skills, right attitude, drive and know-how. Involve them in mentoring your team. You could make this a contract position or include a program as part of the retirement plan to bridge the continued skill over a specified period of time and make this optional.
- Boomers with great executive “C” level relationships and strong trusted advisor skills should not be retired but rather leveraged. These people should be leveraged to open new doors for entry level resources. This especially holds true for start-ups that need to cross that chasm. This can be leveraged at every stage of the sale, especially at the early stage of selling with start-ups. So how many interactions does your SDR need to have these days to connect with a customer? Is it 7 is it 10? Why not cut this to one and incorporate a few boomers as strong advocates of your solution to open a few doors for you. If you have a technology solution that delivers true value to a company, leverage a rolodex that will help get you there quickly. Incorporate boomers into your sales development program.
- Seasoned workers with the right skills can be great enablers. Often a manager is excellent at developing sales strategies and coaching, but they do not have the time and resources to enable staff. Boomers can fill this void as well.
- Bring boomers with the right skills in on your sales or management meetings. Here they can bring experience to the table and cite how their past experience has worked. In this position you want a trusted advisor versus a know it all.
Could your technology company profit from the use of boomers? Clearly, the answer is yes! This is a win/win because many boomers aren’t ready to check out of the workforce. Baby boomers haven’t outlasted their usefulness, and companies that recognize this fact will be in the right position to excel over the next decade. Millenials may be more hard wired for technology interaction, but boomers have spent decades learning, are quick to get to processes, and programs that work. When you combine the intangible wisdom of boomers with the nearly insatiable ability to work long hours with intense focus and a dedication to accomplishing goals you have a recipe for fantastic success.
Many F1000 companies with accomplished HR departments understand that bridging BB’s with millenials through mentoring makes sense. More programs to execute on this are required.
Recruiting agencies can help because we know the talent pool. Leverage us to get you the right contract or permanent resource in this area.