People are aware of situations, their own emotional reactions, and the behaviour of those around them. We face new challenges as those entering the workforce may well be missing many of the social and interactive skills needed to contribute in a meaningful way to an organisation’s progression. There is no doubt that there has been a fundamental shift in how people in the workplace interact with one another and with the continual development of social media the way people communicate presents employers with new challenges. Even though many organisations have witnessed these changes few seem to be introducing counter measures to reduce their impact. I have referred to the communications gap in an another article Wellbeing – Productivity – Part 3
Further disruption in the workplace is likely to come from our inbuilt need for instant gratification constantly being fed by social media. Instant gratification creates a false expectation and it would be fair to say that many who enter the workforce will believe they are entitled to pay rises and/or promotions in a much shorter period than management may have intended.
How will this mindset disrupt the culture that already exists within the organisation and can it be managed without causing a destabilising effect on those who are embedded in the organisation and whose expectations are different? The retention of employees is becoming more difficult and the cost of replacement, on-boarding and training presents even more challenges for organisations of all sizes. We now have the possibility of conflicting mindsets creating disharmony from within.
This suggests that we need new strategies for social media as we fight a war on three fronts.
- Distraction in the workplace driven by social media activity with a result of poorer productivity (see Udemy report on Distraction in the Workplace)
- Two generations coming together, one driven by the need for instant gratification and the other with more traditional values
- The impact of the darker side of social media (bullying, addiction) and the challenges that presents to helping and supporting employees.
We do not know how this will play out or the impact on shareholder value but the very least we can do is adopt the 3R’s, Recognise, Respond and Review. Recognise that this is a challenge presented by the fact that we are in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution where for the first time we are dealing with communications, technology and science all converging in ways we have never seen before. We have no strategies in place which means we need to create them now. Management should seek outside expertise to understand the dynamics that are in play and then Respond with a robust but flexible plan that needs to be Reviewed quarterly until we fully understand the extent of the challenge.
We are all aware of the rapid pace of change unlike anything we have seen before and as business leaders it offers us fantastic opportunities once we understand the full impact of what we are embracing.