When Chess was writing our case study with Booz Allen Hamilton on the U.S. Department of State and their collaboration initiatives, they told us that one of the things the U.S. Government was worried about was the fact that over the next 10 years or so, there would be over 500,000 new employees entering their workforce. These would be people coming straight out of college. At the same time a good portion of their existing workforce would either be retiring of switching careers or jobs. This is a serious challenge not just for the U.S. Government but for all companies who are looking to retain the knowledge of a leaving workforce while empowering a new entering workforce.
So what does this future workforce look like? Consider that a large majority of the new workforce is accustomed to:
- being able to easily find information on the web
- engaging with communities
- learning at will
- staying connected anywhere and on any device
- creating and sharing content and information
- living in a more public life
Now think about happens when these people take jobs within companies today. Most organizations don’t have the technologies and strategies in place to support the type of behaviors that the new workforce is accustomed to. How can a company possibly hire someone out of college today and tell them that they don’t have the ability to connect with their coworkers or that it’s hard for them to find subject matter experts or information internally? Why would anyone want to work for this type of an organization?
The challenge that many companies have today is trying to adapt to the behaviors, expectations, and technologies that we are seeing in our personal lives (the consumer web). Unfortunately, the gap between the consumer web and what we are seeing inside of enterprises continues to widen (although some organizations are working hard to remedy this).
The future workforce will not live in email, won’t spend countless hours searching through old intranets, won’t be stuck working 9-5, and won’t accept that connecting and engaging with their coworkers is not possible. The new workforce doesn’t need to adapt to the old way that most enterprises work; it’s the enterprises that need to adapt to the new workforce.