Next-Gen Business Era

In a hiring manager’s fantasy workplace, the typical 40 hour workweek would translate to 2,080 hours of face to face client interaction, process reinvention and collaboration amongst teammates.  Unfortunately, with the unlimited options to satisfy the entertainment-driven millennial generation, this fantasy often translates to a reality of 87 days worth of mindless button pushing.

It used to be that one would work hard for the weekend, coining the popular phrase “work hard, play hard”.  The ambitious, clad in a crisp button-down and tie, would file into their office spaces to pound out a day on the phones or pour over spreadsheets.  Today, business casual has leaned more toward casual, and face to face interaction has been replaced with emails, opening up more time to get caught up in the internet.

Facebook is more than a social networking site; it’s a 24/7 opportunity to socialize.  Water coolers are no longer considered to be the enemy of productivity, as gossip can be shared over services like GChat or AIM.  It was once uncouth to answer one’s personal calls at work, but as technology progresses, one can seemingly work with their friends, as most are available for conversation throughout the day.  In lieu of business cards, growing professionals can crawl sites like LinkedIn to advance their careers while scouting for a potential significant other through the pages of Match.com.  Want to know if your latest compensation plan was well received by your team?  Just browse through their Facebook/Twitter sites and you will see a foolish employee or two blasting their opinions in real-time.  Though the sounds of keyboards dancing echo through most corporate offices, one must wonder: what are we really accomplishing?

Social media was designed to bring people closer together and to improve efficiency in daily life.  While this, in theory, is completely possible, could the trend be an enemy to the easily-distracted Gen-Y?  Or should we be asking this question: have professionals always been distracted, or has this new omnipresent social scene replaced other forms of procrastination with a positive networking opportunity?

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Regardless if it is disapproved, the trend of online communities exists, is growing rapidly, and is here to stay! So as these tech savvy millennial employees keep flooding the workplace and moving upward into leadership positions, the Corporate question shouldn’t be if, but how, will you use these new technologies to capture the attention of your market share… or your employees. I challenge corporations to take that a step further, to embrace these Social Media technologies without separating market share/potential clients from employees. Social Media is inevitably bringing people together that otherwise would have never met, giving the traditional “old school” conservative business a chance to re-brand in the marketplace. If not embraced this conservative fear of transparency, bringing the external market closer to the business/employees, will eventually be the demise of these organizations.

We are entering a new era of business where Global Corporations will no longer be only as strong as their latest success. Businesses in this new economy will only be as strong as their next innovation.  This innovation will only be possible by embracing the social technologies that advance your communication strategy, resulting in improved collaboration, engagement, and agility in the marketplace.

Anthony Knierim is a Marketing and Communications strategist with Aon Hewitt. There, he is responsible for developing and leading emerging technology/new media strategies to deliver top in class products to Aon Hewitt and Clients. He worked in recruitment and sourcing roles about seven years, most recently as a a Pipeline Generation Expert with Accenture in Chicago, IL.

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