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01
Dec
2007

On a trip to London recently I noticed in one of the free papers a column called 'Timew@ster - what to browse when the boss isn't looking'... That set me thinking about the Facebook generation - some 3.5 million people in the UK.  They have different aspirations and expectations of their work - how are these being met?

On a trip to London recently I noticed in one of the free papers a column called ‘Timew@ster - what to browse when the boss isn't looking'.... That set me thinking about the Facebook generation - some 3.5 million people in the UK.  They have different aspirations and expectations of their work - how are these being met?

There is currently a lot of coverage about how organisations are approaching access to Facebook and other social networking sites for their employees.  What does your organisation's approach say about your understanding and expectations of the Facebook generation?

Some ban access altogether, others allow free access.  Some enlightened employers even require it - recognising that people don't spend every minute working - never have, never will and that setting up a group on Facebook, for example to allow a graduate intake to network and share information provides some distinct benefits.

In the ‘olden days' the concerns used to be about time spent on personal phone calls, now it's about use of the internet, social networking sites and MSN.  Of course there will always be a few who take this too far, but why deny access to everyone because of the misdemeanours of the few?  Surely trust and recognition for results are better motivators than treating everyone as if they are naughty children, not to be trusted and allowed access to such distractors. 

The Facebook generation want something different from their work than those of us from the Babyboomer generation do.  They use different language - poking a friend probably doesn't mean much to us.  Long term prospects and climbing the greasy pole may not hold the same appeal (at least not yet!) and work may be what they do to fill the time between weekends - the means to enable them to do the things they want to do in their free time.  They probably do not want to work the long hours that they have seen their parents put in - life is what happens outside work - and who can challenge that?  They are keen to develop friendships at work, socialise with work colleagues and keep in contact with the people they know wherever they are in the world.  And they also want interesting work and appropriate rewards.

The key to getting the best from the Facebook generation is to understand what they want from their work now and find ways to provide them with the opportunities, challenges and rewards that they want.   If you don't the risks are high that they will move on to find another organisation that will - or maybe just spend more time on Facebook when they should be working!

The American author, Cam Marston, has some interesting observations on the expectations of different generations.  His website is well worth a visit www.marstoncomm.com

 

 

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