November 15, 2016
by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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The Monday Motivator!
edition of The Monday Management. Topic is Planning Ahead.
Click here to open pdf document.
The Digital Native: 5 Things
You Need To Know About This Generation To Succeed In Business
By Michelle Manafy
Between all generations lie gaps.
Yet in the course of some generations, major events occur that
cause tectonic shifts. The fact is that many individuals and
businesses today face a massive and growing generation gap. As
this digital native generation, which has grown up immersed in
digital technologies such as the mobile phones, gaming, and
social networks becomes our dominant employee and consumer base,
those in older generations must learn to navigate a radically
altered landscape in order to succeed in business going forward.
Here are five key
insights into the digital native generation that will help you
understand how best to leverage their distinct worldview to
achieve your business objectives.
1. They live publicly online
Without a doubt, the notion of
privacy didn't change overnight with the advent of the Internet.
For better or worse (or for lack of a better word), we've seen
an evolution of privacy. It was once the norm to keep one's
dirty laundry tucked away out of site. This gave way to a
generation that would share from the relative privacy of a
therapist's couch. More recently, we have witnessed the era of
trash-mouth talk shows and reality television. However, with the
digital native, businesses must address the expectations of a
generation raised in social networking environments, in which
they routinely share every detail of their activities and
opinions with a potentially limitless group of friends.
Businesses are often hamstrung by outdated notions of privacy,
failing to recognize and capitalize on the digital native’s
openness. We need to understand the native's natural inclination
to live publicly to guide these activities so that they are
consistent with our business objectives. We can also build
business models that leverage on this openness, both in the way
we structure our employee activities as well as customer
2. They share knowledge
Once we recognize that the natives
are living their lives out-loud, we can begin to understand how
this behavior is shapes all aspects of their lives. Despite a
good deal of hyperbole about social media and marketing via
Twitter and social networks, as many as 50% to 75% of
organizations limit or ban the use of social networks while on
the job. What this demonstrates is not simply a fear of exposure
through inappropriate use of social technologies, it shows a
distinct lack of understanding of how to effectively manage and
channel the knowledge sharing inclination of this generation.
Beyond crafting guidelines to regulate the appropriate use of
social networks on the job, proactive use of socially mediated,
open, collaborative ways of working can help companies capture
otherwise transient knowledge assets. The old adage was that
knowledge is power; for the digital native knowledge shared is
3. They believe
transparency yields trust
Because digital natives live
publicly and value knowledge sharing, organizations that
demonstrate a similar level of openness will be the ones that
attract and retain them as employees and customers. Digital
natives make new friends, followers, and fans every day. However
it is important to keep in mind that it takes a lot of work to
maintain the kind of genuine relationship required with the
digital native. If digital natives dislike your brand, they will
make it publicly known. Luckily, the reverse is also true.
Today's ultra-connected consumer,
raised to share and monitor sentiment, may seem like a fickle
friend, but that's only if organizations don't stay involved by
listening, responding, owning up and doing the work it takes to
maintain a genuine long-term relationship.
when it comes to attracting and retaining this generation as
employees, it is essential to recognize that today's best
employees are also monitoring opportunities and discussing
employers online. For recruiting, this can provide insights into
whom the best, brightest, and most social media savvy are. And
for employee retention, employers can leverage these same tools
and tendencies to make sure that they are competitive in the
market, responding to concerns in order to attract and retain
the best and brightest.
4. They are timely, not
While most people are painfully
aware that the line between "at work" and "off duty" is
increasingly blurred, for the native this will be taken to a
whole new level. The digital native will move beyond what
previous generations called a worklife balance to a new sort of
For the digital native, work and
social activities are ever-present, they travel with the native
anywhere and anytime. Digital natives may log more hours at
their computers during the course of a day than those in
previous generations, but switch back-and-forth between work and
leisure in short bursts. Though this may strike some managers as
inappropriate, it helps to realize that while an older worker
might head to the break room or a co-worker’s desk to clear
their head, natives are more likely to "info-snack" or catch up
on a quick burst of Facebook updates.
Moving forward, companies that emphasize collaboration, learning
and socialization will see key benefits in comparison to
companies that focus solely on productivity. The native doesn't
need to play all day to be happy. However, there's no reason
that work inside an organization can't be constructively
influenced by the expectations of our younger workforce.
5. They believe in interactions, not transactions
Social networking, social media —
with all this socializing, one might begin to wonder how any
business ever gets done. Suffice it to say, it does and it will
continue to do so. However, organizations that develop good
social skills will have a competitive advantage over those that
remain socially inept. One quality of this business that will be
essential for business success going forward is recognizing that
this generation is not interested in traditional transactive
business models — which are based upon exchanges of money for
goods and services. This is a generation that is interested in
Tip: Unlike a transaction-based
system, an interactive one is based upon social currency. The
fact is that all aspects of business will need to embrace
interaction, from marketing and CRM to product and content
creation. This generation doesn't just want to do business with
companies it views as friends; it wants to do business with
itself and expects to see its ideals and objectives reflected in
the companies it chooses to do business with.
there are many digital immigrants who are whole-heartedly
adopting digital tools, it is not simply emerging technologies
that must be mastered. A lifelong immersion has affected the
mindset, behavior, and expectations of the digital native
generation. To succeed in business with them, we must understand
it and build models based on this new native culture.
Michelle Manafy is director of
content for FreePint, Ltd. An award-winning writer and editor,
her focus is on emerging trends in digital content and how they
shape successful business practices. A speaker and dedicated
mentor, she is the co-author of Dancing With Digital
Natives: Staying in Step With the Generation That’s Transforming
the Way Business Is Done.
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