Part 1: The Baby Boomer view- Boomers are increasingly becoming more interested in technology-related connectivity and how it can benefit the workplace
In this two-part series, were examining how Boomers and Millennials are surprisingly similar when it comes to how they approach their jobs. So when recruiting and retaining them, organizations should audit their workplaces to better match the wants and needs of both sets of potential employees to get the best from them.
In 2014, the last of the Baby Boomers, out of approximately 77 million, will turn 50. I fall into that category and consider myself as having been around the block, and especially when it comes to my professional career. For context, I remember telex machines, DOS screens and floppy disks. The terms Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, app and PDA didnt exist for most of my working life. Ive been an entrepreneur, and worked for companies large and small, and have witnessed the social disruption in the workforce first hand.
I also fall into the category of digital native-immigrant and am fascinated by how technology connects the world and enables us to collaborate in real-time. Im also very conscious about how these technologies can actually benefit the workplace and change the status quo of the working environment. It actually is a great honor to be able to live in these disruptive times.
Most fascinating to me is how the workforce is changing and how social media has become a large part in this paradigm shift. Because we have become such an interconnected and global world, companies are literally being forced to embrace this rather new culture of transparency and collaboration. So, for example, what used to be the norm (the company being what your life revolved around, you had a cubicle in a corporate campus, and you literally stayed loyal to one company until you reached the coveted retirement phase) has now totally been disrupted. The forces behind these changes are many:
- Ubiquitous always-on Internet access.
- Employees are demanding more flexible schedules so there truly is a work/life balance.
- Realizing the notion that we are not meant to work all day in a cubicle.
- The fact that sitting in a car for 45 minutes in nightmarish traffic just to get to that cubicle for nine hours and reversing the process to get home is quite literally the pits.
- People want a say in their company. They want leaders who will listen to them, encourage sharing, and promote camaraderie and transparency.
- Employees want to know that somehow their company is making a difference with sustainability and socially good efforts.
- Lastly in this day of social media, happy, connected employees are your companys best brand ambassadors, which in turn helps in attracting, engaging and retaining top talent. Likewise, if your employees are NOT happy, the world will know, to a company's detriment.
About the author
Suzy Tonini is currently the reasearch and strategy lead at Cloudera. She believes in the power of networking, collaboration and social technologies. She has been instrumental in being an early adopter and leading the charge with social media and enterprise collaboration at global companies such as Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Microsoft. Currently, Suzy is focusing on employment branding strategies for small to medium size businesses and advocacy groups, and enjoys “making a difference”, especially utilizing the power of social media. Suzy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Florida International University and is fluent in Spanish, Italian and French. She lives in Bellingham, WA in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Learn more