All comments posted on this blog do not reflect the opinions of any organization that I am affiliated with. These are my personal perspectives only.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Millennials will alter how we work

Today, myself and some of my colleagues had the opportunity to chat with about 100 grade 9 students. It was the annual "take our kids to work" day. I know the intent of this is to show students what work is like, but I have to admit I was eager to learn from them and test whether they were aware of how they will and already have changed the way we work. With 80,000,000 millennials born in North America there is no doubt we need to listen and learn.

So much is being written about millennials and the "war for talent" these days. One of my favourite articles is a white paper published by New Paradigm on the Net Generation. In it they provide some specific recommendations for companies on how to attract millennials and how to retain them.

In my discussion today, I showed several "enterprise 2.0" concepts... A thought struck me as I was demonstrating how we are using these enterprise 2.0 tools...for them it's really 1.0! There is no "change" per se... It's just always been that way.
The opportunity to express yourself digitally, to obtain information on-demand, to multi-multi-task, to have fun is simply how they operate. When I asked them why a company would consider using "Facebook", they got it immediately. It's about collaborating, sharing information on your terms, keeping relationships. I didn't need to "persuade" them. They started telling me statistics on Facebook and it's adoption in Canada was nearly 15%.
I even showed illustrations of SecondLife and virtual reality and asked them why a company would even consider this. I heard back instantly... "Because it's fun." Interestingly enough, one of the chaperone's replied with disbelief, "Why would anyone consider virtual worlds?". That concept of fun and work don't intersect will not hold up for this generation.

So it was a fun day, and to be honest, I didn't get the feeling they understood the impact they will have on work... But then again they're still only in grade 9.... And for them... it just is.

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