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Is Your Company Prepared for Gen Y? Cisco, Twitter and Google Share Their Thoughts

We’ve all heard about Gen Y, or “millennials,” and how this new generation is poised to take over the workforce and change the face of Silicon Valley. Next Tuesday, July 16th at 6:30 pm, I’ll be joining thought leaders from Twitter and Google on a panel at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, to discuss an issue of critical importance – how to attract tomorrow’s talent and prepare for the incoming Gen Y workforce.

Gen Y is expected to make up nearly 75% of the workforce by 2025. How will this change the way we work, and what kinds of opportunities and challenges does this pose for local Silicon Valley companies? During this panel, I’ll share my thoughts on the biggest shifts in culture, management style, and recruiting strategy needed to attract the best talent of this new generation.

As many of you know, using today’s enterprise tools can feel like taking a trip back in technological time.  For businesses to succeed in the future they are going to have to adapt to the needs of Generation Y and that will often mean offering them more flexibility. According to the Cisco Connected World Technology Report, 66% of employees place higher value on workplace flexibility than on salary.

But it will take more than offering a flexible Read More »

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Professional Social Media: From the Eyes of a College Kid

Social Media has been an integral part of my life ever since my Mom allowed me to create a Facebook page my freshman year of high school. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Webex Social, have completely changed the way I interact with others.

As I make the transition from a collegiate environment to a more professional environment, many interesting points have been brought to mind. I have compiled a list of pointers that I have learned over time and thought I would share them with all of you!

 

Be Aware of Your Audience:

I like to think of a post on social media as an email to all of your following. Just like an email, a recipient may or may not read your post, and they may or may not be interested in the content of the post.

Generally, whatever someone posts on a social media channel will be available to ALL of their followers unless they specify against this. This means that they either have to only post material that is appropriate for all or monitor their following to ensure that whatever they post is acceptable. This is more applicable to personal accounts as the content on professional accounts will most likely be professional in nature. Sites like Facebook are getting better at giving you tools to provide contents to certain predetermined groups of followers only. For example: they could upload an album of pictures from their family reunion and then share the album only with their “immediate family” Facebook friends group.

 

Define Your Goals BEFORE Implementing a Social Media Campaign:

This point is something that was heavily stressed in the Cisco Social Media Training and Certification program and I think it is a really good idea.

Whenever someone uses social media, they should have some type of agenda. In high school, one might just be trying to pass the time or stay up to date with who is dating whom. In college, one may be trying to build a network with their peers or discuss plans for Friday night. At a professional level, one may be trying to spread the word about a new service that they are offering or requesting feedback about what the public thinks about certain ideas. Whatever the agenda is, it is quite valuable to identify this agenda prior to the implementation. You see this with most projects. Diving into a project head first without stepping back and looking at what you aim to accomplish first is often a dangerous practice.

The same goes for social media campaigns. By identifying what you aim to accomplish, you are able to for efficiently implement a strategy to accomplish your social media goals.

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The Weakest Link Analogy with Professionalism:

A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. I think this common saying applies to how a social media channel is viewed from a professional standpoint.

I believe that a channel is viewed at the level of professionalism as the least professional post. A Facebook page can turn out great weekly content about a company written at a high professional level, but as soon as an inappropriate post is made and someone sees it, that follower will associate the channel with that lower level of professionalism. This just means that, when in charge of a social media account, a professional reputation must be constantly upheld.

 

Social Media Representing a Something Bigger Than Yourself:

When dealing with social media, there is a huge difference between a personal account and a professional account. With a professional account, the creator is representing a company or a product (in some cases the product being the creator themselves i.e. Linkedin). Where as with a personal account, you have complete freedom over post content. We are seeing more and more incidents today dealing with social media snafus causing major problems.

When watching ESPN, we will often see that a player had impulsively tweeted that he wanted a trade or thought the coach was in violation of some rule which will often set off a chain reaction of events often resulting in disciplinary action all across the board and media backlash. Many companies experience their social media campaigns go horribly wrong due to a misinterpretation on how a specific tactic would be received (see this article for several of these breakdowns http://mashable.com/2012/11/25/social-media-business-disasters-2012/). Social media takes what used to be private interactions and puts them on a pedestal for the entire world to see if they so desire. This can be extremely helpful in some regards but also potentially dangerous.

The bottom line is that, when dealing with a professional social media account that is representative of something bigger than oneself, it is important to be aware of the magnitude and possible ramifications of ones decisions.

 

Identify a Posting Environment’s Style:

This final point has to deal with posting on an unfamiliar environment on a social media platform.

Not everyone online is interested in holding a professional conversation with you. In modern day internet slang, it is said that there are many trolls out there. A troll is basically someone who posts off topic, offensive, irrelevant, comical, or derogatory comments on a social media post essentially for fun. Some may be surprised that this exists but yes, it is definitely something to look out for. When first encountering an unknown social media environment, evaluating the landscape to see what type of activity is going on there. Say for example that someone searches: “Lawn Care” on Facebook looking to post a serious question about why you are having weeds grow in their lawn. There will probably be some results that consist of pages that are filled with trolls that will not be able to contribute constructive responses to their questions. A good rule of thumb is to look at a few of the past posts and responses and determine if the specific social landscape is appropriate for your needs. Also, if you are engaged by a troll, the best thing to do is just ignore them.

 

What differences have you noticed between utilizing social media in a professional manor vs. a personal manor? Do you anticipate social media becoming more prevalent in todays society? Do you have any additional observations?

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Connected Millennials Entering the Workforce

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.

As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.

Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.

Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.

At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.

Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.

My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these:  First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.

There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.

 

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New Workspaces for New Worlds of Collaboration

November 6, 2012 at 6:00 am PST

I recently wrote about “Collaborating with the New Generation” after being enlightened by a panel discussion with a group of Millennials. In the theme of looking forward and new generations, Forrester Consulting completed an in-depth online survey about the next-generation workspace with 325 senior-level IT decision makers in the United States, Europe, and China.

Not surprisingly, the workspace is evolving in much the same ways employee habits are. As employees look for more flexibility in devices and where they work, enterprises are implementing mobility, collaboration, virtualization, and security solutions that align to these needs. What does it mean to you? Read More »

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Talking about my Generation

I recently read an article by Deloitte and something really caught my attention: voicemail.

Apparently voicemail is antiquated.  It’s out of touch. It’s not an efficient way to communicate with people.

Did you know that? I didn’t. But according to the same article, the reason I didn’t know is because I am too old.

I’m a Generation X-er. I’ve lived through the digital revolution. And whilst I, like any good Cisco employee, love the fruits of technology – the Internet, smartphones, SMS texts, blogs, IWE – I also remember a time when telephones had cords and emails were word-processed and delivered by postmen. And apparently that makes me a whole different ball-game to Generation Y-ers and “Millenials.”

Read More »

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