Building a Workplace That Attracts Talent

Susan Hall
Slide Show

The CIO-Millennial Divide: Struggling to Keep Up with Younger Workers' Tech Support Expectations

My colleague Ann All created a firestorm of angry comments a few years ago when she said, "Grow up, Punks" to young workers who would quit a job without Facebook access. But that train has left the station.


In Cisco's second annual Connected World Technology Report, 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young professionals said they would accept a lower-paying job that offered them more access to social media, more choice in the devices they could use at work, and more flexibility in working remotely.


Ann has written a lot about Millennials, the next-generation work force that has grown up with technology. And she's made the point that as companies try to lure them, they might improve things for all of us.


That point came to mind when I read the Fast Company article, "Why Digital Talent Doesn't Want To Work At Your Company." Of course, "digital talent" doesn't necessarily mean twentysomethings. It could just as easily mean geezer engineers, though I took it to mean young workers, though older workers might want the same things. (Of course, I say "geezer engineers" will full love and respect.)


While the IT department has long been considered "the department of no," for its stock answer to any ideas from anyone else in the business, writer Arron Shapiro makes the point that that's the stock answer, period, at some companies. And companies have to change that culture to attract new talent. After all, it's not all about being cool, being in Silicon Valley and bringing home a big paycheck, he says:

The talent you want would be happy to work in an un-air-conditioned garage in New Mexico if it meant the chance to change the world.

This, the opportunity to do great things, to make a real difference, is what drives most digital talent - whether they're developers, designers, producers, marketers or business folks.

He says companies have to create a workplace different than the one that's the reality for most workers - enormous bureaucracies, crappy offices, no clear career path, no expectation of doing anything important, and condemnation for taking any risk. The federal government, facing a huge wave of retirements, for one has been looking closely at what it will take to lure younger workers. Dealing with its huge bureaucracy is just one of its many challenges.


Writer Shapiro is CEO of HUGE, a digital agency that works with major companies in their dealings with customers in the online world. There's a really interesting comment string on his article, many making the point that these are things that all workers want and that sometimes there needs to be less focus on fun and more focus on the work at hand.

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