Listened to this podcast
from the Gartner Group
on a new workforce attitudes…thanks to Ken
Task for sharing it with me!

Here are my rough notes. This has profound implications for
educators, but especially, Information Tech (IT) folks working in school
districts.

Defined by many as the Net Generation. People who have grown up with
technology (the baby boom echo, ranging from 8-28 years old). They’ve
used tech since they were old enough to use technology, view it as
important in their life, and have a better understanding of consumer
tech than most IT professions. They have different values and attitudes.

Their personal expectations about work, lifestyle are different.

Interactions at work will be non-hiearchical. They should be able to
interact with all levels at the hiearchy. It’s about value creation. You
need to value my contributions from the start. Very community oriented,
it’s not about me, it’s about we as the organization. Members of
multiple communities. Electronic communication is the preferred means of
communication, very different.

Technical expectations are technology my way. They want to be able to
work anywhere, anytime. IM is the preferred way to communicate rather
than email. Tech is configured to them personally and more significant
changes is that it is not perceived as a service that is provided from
somewhere. It is personal.

Is this a short-term trend or longlasting?

Initially, it’s not going to change …it’s about recognition of their
contribution. That’s more important to them than climbing up the pay
scale. They’re members of lots of different networks. They have work,
friends and family networks, and others. They have plenty of ability to
reach out to other opportunities. If you don’t value my contribution,
I’m going to go some place else that does. This is the trend that is
here to stay. They expect the organization to accommodate them.

This could change over time as they begin to have children, taking care
of their family, compensation-centric…by then, it may become something
that organizations have changed to.

IT is accustomed to providing black box services to a business. That
attitude is not going to fly. New attitude is that they understand the
technology. THey’re used to tech that works the way it’s supposed to
work. If they find new tech that is useful to them, they’re going to use
it because it’s contributing to their productivity, whatever the
motivation is. They expect the enterprise to be accepting and embracing
of it because it is part of the factor that lets them contribute to the
work of the business. They expect the IT organization to accommodate
it…if IT is resistant or put constraints on it, then they are going to
be viewed as something that is to be overcome or work around them
because their attitude is "The greybeards just don’t get it. This is
about productivity and I need this to get it."

Do we have to overhaul tech platforms?

In terms of personal tech, these members are just going to bring this in
with them. They’ll buy handhelds and other low-cost devices. IT needs to
accommodate those. On the outside, we’re moving to an environment that
is services-oriented, that what you want to use in the way of tech that
is web services that people can take advantage of. IT needs to migrate
towards service oriented architecture.

Are there any companies that see this or get this already?

Two best examples are Google and parts of Microsoft. The reason why I
call them out…they’ve got an environment where they are willing to
experiment and let them try it out.

How should IT be thinking about this new generation of workers?

Don’t
fight the trend. The technology has come in the door and the IT has not
been able to stop it. You’re going to lose. The workforce sees the
benefit of using these devices. Accommodate experimentation within the
Enterprise. Firewall it off so that it won’t do damage to corporate data
and infrastructure. It gives them the arena to explore the potential.
Make it secure. Understand that this is going to come in, potentially a
threat to the value of the enterprise/intellectual property, then create
policies that explain that this is what they need to do to prevent
damage. These are not renegades who are in the work force. They want to
work hard, be successfulll in business…you can’t blindly give them a
policy that says don’t do this because they’ll figure out a workaround.


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