I just love the Australians – they are direct and challenging, which always makes for a stimulating conversation. Yesterday, during a day of client meetings I was discussing social collaboration, innovation and the relationships between technology and society with a CIO and his team. He is a seasoned veteran who has seen it all and done it all. At the same time, he and his team have created a very Gen Y frienddly environment. Support for personal devices, no restrictions on access to social networking sites, lots of innovation and understanding about the expectations of a Gen Y workforce. I had to say I was impressed – he had gone much further than many organisations I speak with. Then he hit me with the sucker punch!
“So the question I have for you” he said, leaning back in his chair with the start of a wry smile on his face, “is this – we’ve done all this stuff for our Gen Y workforce – But what has Gen Y ever done for me?”. Shades of Monty Python and the Romans!! It is a difficult question to answer, because many of the usual benefits about innovation and morale, recruitment and retention, productivity and collaboration are all difficult to measure, there is lots of soft benefits, but not a lot to wave at the CFO come budget time.
Now clearly, since actions speak louder than words, he believed that what he had done was necessary or it would never have happened, but the current conditions often require us to go back and measure and document the benefits. “What has Gen Y ever done for us?” is a very good question and I would welcome your answers (on a digital postcard please!). And don’t bother to mention the roads, or the sewage system – I’ve already got that on the list!
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