2015: the year the digital divide will reach tipping point in the workplace

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Digital cracks will appear in the workplace in 2015 as organisations grapple with the need to embed new technology at the speed their employees are demanding.

 

According to Tim Payne, partner in KPMG’s people powered performance team, boardrooms and their HR teams, will face a workplace where the generational divide becomes increasingly difficult to handle in 2015.

“The digital divide that separates generations in the home will gradually creep into the workplace next year, as organisations adopt new technologies to stay ahead of the competition,” Payne said.

“On the face of it new technology sounds like a good idea, but the challenge will be whether organisations can adopt new technologies quickly enough to satisfy employee need while ensuring everyone is able to get the most out of it.  Failure to do so may create conflict in the workplace with some people feeling empowered and others left behind.”

Steve Tappin, coach to CEOs and boards across the world and a course leader of HR magazine’s HR in the Boardroom, agreed that 2015 would be a tipping point.

 “The big emerging issue for a majority of FTSE 100 businesses is that they don't grasp the disruptive impact digital will have on their business as they lack digital expertise and mindset on their board. They are lagging behind in digitalising their businesses as they are trapped with old corporate IT management mindset,” he said.

Executives are focused on programme plans, budgets and projects but lack the “digital spark” on how to best use technology to gain a more competitive edge, according to Tappin. They also often lack the entrepreneurial speed and cut through to deliver this edge.  

“Many boards are wary about recruiting these typically younger digital rebels on to their board but without them they could fall victim to one. My sense is this has been overture for a couple of years but in 2015 the digital cracks will become more visible.”

KPMG’s Payne also believes UK organisations will play a waiting game when it comes to further hiring next year. 

“Technological know-how will also combine with political uncertainty to give CEOs another headache. With the General Election looming in the UK, oil price fluctuations and instability across Europe, CEOs will need to decide whether to continue to back growth in the UK and hire more people, or adopt a watching brief and pull back to see how events unfold before committing money and resources to their long-term development.”

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