Will the real Gen Y please stand up?

Much of the discussion about social media in the enterprise posits that the incoming generation will demand the new technology tools that they have learned to depend on.

However, In working with some old ECM systems I have been surprised at times how new, young staff have just accepted them, rather than 'demanding' something better.

So will in coming workers 'demand' change or meekly accept the status quo?

An article called, "After the recession, the fallout will be lasting," in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail this weekend suggests an answer. The theme of this article is that the recession has had a profound and sobering effect on career expectations:

"…many young people I talk to have significantly, and resentfully, lowered their expectations. They didn't imagine themselves in this situation in their wildest dreams."

The article goes on to say this change is affecting workers of all ages:

"This hard-line attitude will leave a bad taste in many workers' mouths. Some will develop a lasting cynicism and suspicion of organizational motives. They will not expect anything good of their employers. Others will be traumatized. Whatever cockiness employers have accused Gen Yers of having, for instance, will be knocked out of some."

So it is not hard to see why some workers simply put up with bad systems at work.

On the other hand, others are more likely to seek alternatives:

"Others will develop a healthier self-reliance. They will understand that organizations will not necessarily look after them and they will have to look after themselves." I think it is these people that are more likely to 'go around' what their employer provides to find the cloud-based, social networking tools they want.

So the current recession has polarized the response of Gen Y in the workplace. On the one hand some staff will resentfully use old technology, while others will be more likely to seek alternatives, with less concern for the risks to their employers.

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