The N-Geners will want to bring their social-networking life into the office and make it as much a part of their business life as it is their social life. Bringing the whole company onto a Facebook account will require a new set of policies. These activities cannot be centered in one single area or department. Perhaps you need to have a formal course for all those who want to participate in the social network to be sure you have a consistent message coming from the company. The ultimate objective of these exercises is to extend the company’s ability to listen to your customers in a more informal arena.
Of course, you must also be very concerned about what exactly is shared on these networks. So, companies using these networks have opted to track everything that is posted to ensure compliance with company objectives and make sure employees and sometimes agents don’t do something that they shouldn’t do. With professional social-networking services such as Linkedin, the risk can be the loss of control over valuable sales files and contacts. Because the employee is bypassing your internal contact-management system, the network becomes the employees’, not the company’s.
Then there are the iPods and other personal-media libraries. The iPods are basically large external disc drives that can store vast amounts of data. That data can also be proprietary and confidential but very easy to carry out the front door.
The older generations, today’s senior managers, have valued loyalty, seniority and authority in the corporation. The N-Geners, it is said, reflect a desire for creativity, social connectivity, fun, freedom, speed and diversity in their workplace. Your challenge will be the ability to attract and keep these new N-Geners who will be the leaders of tomorrow while maintaining control over the company’s customers and core competencies.
Final Thoughts on the Office of the Future
By Jack Marino
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