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Generational divide in the workplace to be a myth

May 20, 2019

Clash of Generations Debunked Infographic

Ricoh-commissioned research study uncovers that 76 percent of North American workers enjoy working alongside colleagues of different ages; what was previously thought to be conflict is no longer.

Ricoh USA, Inc. unveiled the findings of new research that shows the reality of multi-generational relationships to be more collaborative than past perceptions of conflict.

According to this new research commissioned by Ricoh, which included 1,500 respondents across the United States and Canada, 71 percent find a cross-generational workplace an asset to a company and 76 percent of those same workers enjoy working alongside colleagues of different ages.

Additionally, today’s workforce is more united than ever in its demand for a seismic change in the way we all conduct business in the future. It is no longer enough to measure just financial success, with employees from across the generations calling on businesses to be a force for good and drive positive change in the world.

The reason? According to the research done by Ricoh, the line between our personal and professional worlds is blurring as technology frees us from the traditional 9-5 office set-up. The choice of our profession and how we decide to work is increasingly becoming a defining factor of who we are as individuals. This is driving employees of all ages to recognise each other’s’ strengths and weaknesses. For instance, more than three out of five respondents believe that a four-day work week will be more likely due to Generation Z’s use of technology to be more efficient.  

“Today’s workforce is unique, as was the workforce 20 years ago, and 20 years before that,” said Donna Venable, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Deputy General Manager, Shared Services, Ricoh Americas. “The truth is today’s current workforce, which consists of more generations than ever before, is unified. We’re seeing a greater understanding that no action is too small to contribute to the bigger picture and therefore a realization that the collective impact businesses can have will be significant to helping ensure a better future for generations to come. In a time of often unpleasant news, this unification is a positive statement.”

Other findings included that an average of 72 percent across all generations believe in their company’s values and ideals. Employees are personally invested in their workplaces, with an average of 59 percent across all generations viewing their work as a key factor in defining who they are as a person. An average of 68 percent across all generations think the way the world does business will change dramatically in the next five to 10 years

65 percent of workers agree sustainability needs to be at the centre of business and product strategies in the next five to 10 years.

According to the research employees also believe the role of a responsible employer should include upskilling a digital workforce and innovating in their sectors. Workers see new technologies as vital in driving this change, with 66 percent agreeing technology should play a central role in helping them work to the best of their abilities. Meanwhile, 74 percent believe that the best workplaces invest in digital technologies for upskilling staff.

Venable adds: “It’s not just the younger generations who want businesses to act. We’re seeing all age groups coming together with a collective demand to incorporate more sustainable and responsible working practices, something we hold in great regard at Ricoh. This involves operating in harmony with the environment, demonstrating respect for your people as well as the wider societies in which a business operates. At Ricoh, we’re doing this by embracing and taking action to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including a commitment to reducing our CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. As business leaders, we have a duty to listen to our workforce and we’re hearing them loud and clear when it comes to the bigger picture.”

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