Monday, December 17, 2007

Author: Employers Must Ease Way for Next Generation

Author: Employers Must Ease Way for Next Generation
Heather Havenstein

December 17, 2007 (Computerworld) In his 1997 book, Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation, author Don Tapscott predicted that the children of baby boomers would become enormously influential as the first generation to grow up surrounded by high-tech tools and toys.

Tapscott’s latest book, Grown Up Digital, revisits the so-called Net generation — those born between the late 1970s and early 1990s — and finds that their unique attitudes and aptitudes are already invading the workplace. The book is due out next year.

Tapscott said his research has found that the Net generation offers unique talents to employers, who will have to adapt hiring and workplace processes to effectively recruit and retain them.

The research included interviews with more than 11,000 of the 80 million members of the Net generation in a $4 million study.

Tapscott contended that high-profile knocks against the children of baby boomers — that they are a generation that’s uninformed, lazy and looking to move up the corporate ladder without putting in the required blood, sweat and tears — are wrong.

The group’s work habits, he said, are just different from those of their parents, because they have been profoundly influenced by technologies like instant messaging, video games, mobile phones and search engines.

“These kids’ brains are actually wired differently,” Tapscott said. “Their IQs are up by all the measures we have. This is the smartest generation ever. They are highly motivated and bring a new kind of culture.” And some, he noted, are quitting their jobs when they bump up against a traditional corporate culture.

Tapscott said that the research showed that companies must accommodate the new generation’s need for speed — real-time instant messaging conversation is its core communication method. The preference for quick, peer-to-peer interaction can be stifled by a traditional corporate hierarchy and work processes, he said.

The new workforce also wants to take advantage of mobile technology, which provides a freedom that “has become like oxygen” to them, Tapscott said.

The desire for freedom and balance can be exploited for competitive gain, he noted. Companies, for example, could use collaboration technologies in virtual teaming arrangements, allowing Net generation workers to satisfy their need to socialize with peers worldwide.

Based on the research, Tapscott also suggested that companies do the following:

* Provide a healthy amount of project work that offers cyclical, intensive projects.

* Set up opportunities for young workers to quickly present their ideas to managers.

* Encourage informal relationships between managers and workers.

If You Do Not Resemble the Young People in this Story, You Will Have Difficulty in the Workforce

IT Faces Stiff Challenge From Emerging Workforce
Heather Havenstein

December 17, 2007 (Computerworld) Chris Scalet realized that the next generation of workers will likely require drastically different IT tools and policies as he watched his 20-year-old daughter studying for college classes recently.

Scalet, senior vice president and CIO at Merck & Co., noticed that she simultaneously studied, listened to her iPod, sent text messages and browsed through pages of the Facebook online social network.

“How she will work in the future will be very different from how we work today,” Scalet said. “She is going to expect [collaboration] tools... to be able to work. We don’t think that way today as corporations. We think, as baby boomers, [about a] very traditional, structured, formal [work process].”
David Berry
David Berry
Scalet is among a growing number of IT executives looking at what changes need to be made to adequately meet the needs of the 80 million children of baby boomers, who are just now entering the workforce.

Businesses must quickly find a way to adapt to new technologies that will be essential in what Don Tapscott calls “the next-generation enterprise.” Tapscott is co- author of Wiki­nomics (Portfolio Hardcover, 2006), a book about how the Internet and mass collaboration are about to dramatically affect the global economy.

“Collaboration models are going to dominate the 21st century marketplace,” he predicted. “If you don’t understand that, you’re going to fail.”

Though Scalet said it’s too early to say exactly how technology will have to evolve, he agreed that CIOs must “think very differently about how to build future capabilities.”

“This next generation of employees will pull corporations toward it,” he said. If companies lack the technology demanded by the new workers, “they will pack up and go someplace that does. IT has to take a leadership role.”

But, warned David Berry, senior vice president and CIO at cosmetics company Coty Inc., such new technologies still must fall within corporate IT parameters in areas like security and governance.

Berry said he is already working to determine which of the new collaboration technologies can fit into a corporate environment — and which cannot.

“Social networks, for example, in a nonworkplace environment might be OK, but what about managing it when litigation steps in?” Berry said. “Most companies are not geared to handle [social networks]. It is hard enough to handle inappropriate use of the Internet in the workplace.”

New York-based Coty is using instant messaging and online forums, and it is gearing up to roll out a corporate portal with access to instant messaging, e-mail and company news, Berry said. He acknowledged that the effort so far is “sort of a Yahoo” first-generation Internet approach to technology that may seem “stale” to the younger set. Therefore, he added, the company is also integrating forums, wikis and RSS feeds into the mix.

Berry noted that as time goes on, IT managers will have to play the “good guy, bad guy” role in managing the rollout of these technologies. “It is also our responsibility to train the younger people in the proper use of technologies, to respect policy and process, and not only have fun with the new technologies,” he said

Managers must also consider the cost of rolling out the new technologies. “The younger folks haven’t had to deal with ROI or capital investments,” Berry said.

‘A Lot of Cool Stuff’

Brian Fetherstonhaugh, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy­One Worldwide, said that the New York-based direct marketing firm is looking for ways to blend traditional work methods and new technologies through its three-year-old entry-level associate training program.

Fetherstonhaugh acknowledged that he had underestimated the needs of younger workers until he began meeting monthly with new employees in the associate program.

“The issue of talent and finding and keeping it is critical,” he noted. “Their patience is different. Their appetite for work and play is extremely high.” The new workers “know a lot of cool stuff we don’t know.”

At Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck, some workers maintain that the emerging technologies will be “a huge part of our business in the future,” said Scalet. Others, however, believe that the new tools are “a fad that will pass,” he added.

But while Merck is trying to identify the middle ground between those two camps, Scalet is sure that the company will have to find a way to support the technology demands of the baby boomers’ children. “There are 80 million potential workers who are coming at us with these types of capabilities,” he noted. “We’re going to have to deal with that.”

Executives are encouraging Merck employees to experiment with social networks, which Scalet said could lead to a dramatic change in the company’s method for solving problems.

The future model could involve electronically sharing a business problem with anyone with Web access “and letting 15,000 people solve it in an hour,” he said. “That potentially is a very powerful model.”

Mock Trial Info

Dear 2008 Mock Trial Competition Participants:

Several passes were recently donated to Temple-LEAP for Mock
Trial participants to attend a special screening of the
exciting new movie "The Great Debaters". The movie is an
inspirational story of an debate team from a historically
black college during the Depression that overcomes odds to
participate in a national debate competition. The movie
surely be a good learning tool for Mock Trial participants.

Two students from each school can attend. The screening will
be held at the Pearl Theatre @ Avenue North, 1600 North
Broad Street (near Broad and Cecil B. Moore) on Wednesday,
December 19, 2007 at 7:00 pm. Preference for passes will be
given to students who have demonstrated a commitment to this
year's competition by attending the Mock Trial Camp in
October. The passes will be distributed on a first come,
first served basis.

Please contact the Temple-LEAP office via e-mail
( with the names of the two students
attending from your school. One pass admits two students.
Passes will be available for pickup Tuesday, December 18 and
Wednesday December 19, 2007 from 3-5 pm at the Temple Law
School front desk. Please do not pick up passes until you
have received confirmation from the Temple LEAP office.
Temple LEAP Project