Change is in the Wind

In 2010 I became a grandparent for the first time. What a wonderful, joy filled, perplexing experience it has been getting used to this newest member of our family. I guess one of the benefits of getting older is that you gain some perspective on life. You see, it’s been 26 years since my last child was born and I started to think about all the changes in store for my grandchild over the coming years.

Later, I had the pleasure of attending a chapter meeting of the Raleigh-Wake Human Resource Managers Association where I heard a speaker named Lance Richards from Kelly Services in Singapore give a talk entitled “The Talent Tsunami”. His talk captured many of the thoughts that occurred to me about what the coming years will bring for not only my grandchild as she grows up, but the workforce in general. As business leaders and workers, it’s useful to consider how just a couple of these trends will impact us, both short and long term.

The Millennials or Generation M

I think about the people born after 1985 as Generation M(edia). In many ways the media of today has raised our children and will raise my grandchild. It’s hard to escape the influence of media on the children and young adults of today.

In a book entitled “Youth Culture 101”, Walt Mueller ranked the top influences on youth over the last 50 years and a remarkable shift has occurred just from the 1980s. In the ‘80s the rank was: Friends, Family, Media, and School. In the ‘00s the rank is: Media, Friends, Family, and School. In a report done by 60 minutes a few years ago they said: “The workplace has become a psychological battlefield and the millennials have the upper hand, because they are tech savvy, with every gadget imaginable almost becoming an extension of their bodies. They multitask, talk, walk, listen and type, and text. And their priorities are simple: they come first.”

Virtual Workplace – Knowledge Workers Rule

Another extension of the pervasive power of the media is what it’s done to how work gets done. Millions of people now work from their homes. This allows work to be done almost anytime, anywhere for many people. The implications are enormous just in terms of globalization of the workforce and the use of temporary/contract workers.

The employer-employee contract has literally been redefined over the last 5-10 years. I think the only rule that really applies is that change is constant and human beings will continue to search for and find ways to take advantage of technology to continually improve the way work gets done in a never ending spiral of increased productivity.

Implications

In the 60 minute report previously mentioned, Mary Crane, a former White House chef who now coaches millennials, was quoted: “The boomers do need to hear the message, that they’re gonna have to start focusing more on coaching rather than bossing. If this generation in particular, you just tell them, ‘You got to do this. You got to do this. You got to do this.’ They truly will walk. And every major company knows that this is the future.”

As I gaze into the eyes of my amazing grandchild, I wonder what’s in store for her future. And I also invite you to consider what’s in store for you and your business as we continue on the incredible journey that
technology and media have set us on.