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1 Leveraging Millennials To Drive Enterprise Social Initiatives by Rob Koplowitz with Matthew Brown and Joseph Dang Executive Summary Investments in enterprise social technology continue to rise. At the same time, the bet on enterprise social initiatives becomes increasingly strategic. The stakes are high, the risk of failure looms large, and adoption represents a critical success factor and a challenge to overcome. As the Millennial generation takes an increasingly important role in the workplace, smart organizations will look at their work habits not as a disruption to manage, but an opportunity to tap. The Millennials affinity for new technology and tendency to embrace all things social could prove a valuable tool for driving critical mass adoption in your enterprise. The most forward-thinking organizations have already begun the process of formalizing programs to identify, train, and leverage key individuals, who Forrester calls community leaders, to jumpstart enterprise social success. The Collaboration Imperative As the world economy slowly emerges from a deep and lengthy recession, businesses are placing bets on new technologies to gain advantage in the coming growth cycle. Strategic goals like innovation bring fundamental bets on knowledge worker effectiveness into focus. Forrester often finds that these lofty goals trickle down to IT initiatives that make enterprise social technology spending a priority (see Figure 1). A New Generation is Poised To DOminate The Workforce As businesses respond to new economic opportunities and challenges, they also face the most dramatic workforce turnover in history. Baby Boomers, once the largest generational cohort in our history, are leaving the workforce at an alarming rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of workers in the 55 or over group will grow 46.7%, which is 5.5 times the 8.5% growth projected for the labor force overall. The Baby Boomers will gradually retire, but, in aggregate, no one knows exactly when, because many will opt to continue working either full- or part-time. In the US, the generation following them, Generation X, aged 29 to 43, has fewer workers, making it impossible for that generation to fill the open positions left when Baby Boomers retire. 1 A new hope rests with the Millennials, the rising largest generational cohort globally (see Figure 2). They re Here Now, And Their Business Influence Is Growing Once perceived as the new kids in the workforce, Millennials are now a large and growing proportion of the global workforce. There are 65 million Millennials, with more than 40 million already in the US workforce. 2 Headquarters Forrester Research, Inc., 400 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA USA Tel: Fax:

2 2 Figure 1 Nearly 60% Of Enterprises Will Have Enterprise Social Investments In 2011 What are your firm s plans to adopt Web 2.0 collaboration technologies? Expanding/upgrading implementation Implemented, not expanding Planning to implement in the next 12 months Enterprise 30% 18% 9% SMB 20% 17% 7% Base: 921 North American and European enterprise and SMB information and knowledge management decision-makers Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Figure 2 Generation Y Is A Large Part Of The Population Generations Population % of world population Gen Y (15-29) Gen X (30-44) Baby Boomers (45-64) billion billion billion 25% 21% 19% Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Millennials began actively entering the workforce in 2000, which means that the older Millennials are now age 30, and those that entered right out of college have been working with you for eight years. Older Millennials are now moving into management positions where they will have more responsibility for defining organizational culture, not to mention increased input into in enterprise IT decisions. 3 The bottom line is that the maturation of Millennials in the workforce will likely provide an accelerant to enterprise social initiatives as their work style moves from disruption to norm. Millennials Are More Connected, More Often, From More Places A lot of conversation goes on about what technology investments you need to attract Millennials to come to work for your organization. Given the large number of companies investing in enterprise social initiatives and associated technologies, a better question is how can they help you achieve success in those endeavors. The answer lies in how Millennials use technology in their personal lives.

3 3 Millennials are far more likely to consume content online and take steps to interact in social networking environments. Not only that, but they are more likely to do so through the use of newer and more versatile means like mobile devices. In other words, not only are they more likely to use technology to interact with content and to communicate with one another more effectively, they are inclined to be more connected, more often (see Figure 3). Figure 3 Millennials Are Far More Likely To Use Social Tools Including Mobile Devices Gen Y (18-30) Gen X (31-44) Younger Boomers (45-54) Internet Read about news regularly online Update/maintain a profile on a social networking site Read about TV/movies/music regularly online Watch TV programs (live or archived) online Mobile Own a cell phone (any type)* Send or receive SMS/text messages Access the mobile Internet Own a smartphone Research products for purchase *Base: US adults Base: US online adults Base: US adults who own a cell phone Older Boomers (55-65) Seniors (66+) 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Source: North American Technographics Benchmark Survey, Q Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Leverage Their Energy And Skills To Drive Technology Behavior Change Given that Millennials bring familiarity and skills to interacting in social networks, they likely have diverse ideas for how to drive adoption within your enterprise. But as Forrester has found from its thought-leading clients, this requires a programmatic approach. IBM s drive toward a more social enterprise culture is supported by a program called BlueIQ, which is supported by a global network of trained resources called ambassadors. According to Anna Dreyzin, IBM BlueIQ enablement education lead, the program helps IBM drive social thinking to IBM s 400,000 plus employees: BlueIQ provides consulting for IBMers on how to best use social software to perform collaborative work and quickly connect with the resources and people they need to reach. Since IBM is a large, global organization, BlueIQ, is especially beneficial for new employees to help them navigate around the organization and quickly find experts, share online materials, run effective online meetings, and locate resources from IBM global communities.

4 4 The value of IBM s ambassador program is highly aligned with Forrester s view of the community leader. To establish programs for driving enterprise social networking, consider how Millennials can help drive your initiatives by doing the following for your organization: Provide basic tool instruction and support. Most enterprise social tools are straightforward and simple to use. That said, it is always a good idea to provide workers with a simple, nonthreatening way to get more information about how to use the new tool. From basic issues like logging on to more complex issues like advice on best practices, it is always helpful to be able to have someone answer questions. Map tools to initiatives with real business value. Every organization will have its own unique goals in embracing enterprise social. For one it could be driving stronger communications and content sharing across geographic and organizational boundaries, for another it could be driving increased innovation or collective decision-making. Whatever the drivers, it is imperative that workers understand the business goals associated with an enterprise social initiative and can accurately map the use of the tools to business value. As one organization shared, We tried the build and they will come approach and it didn t work. Users need to be shown business value in the context of their jobs. Identify best-fit and worst-fit uses for social tools. Like the worker with a hammer who thinks everything s a nail, social technology pundits think the tools fix everything. Clearly that s not the case. Social technologies create unique value in certain types of content creation and communication activities. In others, they are ineffective, and even risky. For example, nobody wants the company s secret product formulas (or personal salary data) stored on an open community-maintained wiki. Ask the question, Is this a good use for this technology? Provide advice on decorum and communication protocols. Many organizations are concerned that workers will post inappropriate material in an enterprise social setting that could be rude or even risky in terms of liability. Having natural sages available to provide guidance on decorum in what for many will be a new medium could prove very valuable and lower these concerns. One organization Forrester talked with encouraged users to place personal pictures on their profile pages to give the organization more information about themselves. The guidance was quickly followed by the realization that we don t want quite that much information about you! Policy was implemented to provide more guidance on decorum and community leaders would be in an ideal position to clarify decorum on a daily basis.

5 5 Recommendations It s Time to Establish A Community Leader Program For Social Tech Adoption Driving adoption of enterprise social technologies is critical to success. Without critical mass of participation, enterprise social initiatives fail. Tap into your most motivated resources and leverage them by establishing a formal community leader program and do the following: Identify potential community leaders. The first step is to identify those individuals within your organization that are prepared and willing to become community leaders. These individuals should be technology savvy and motivated to participate. Despite the tone of this document, Millennials are not the only resources to tap in your organization. Look to Millennials as a rich potential resource but recognize that motivated individuals are not confined to any particular generation. Many potential candidates will be happy to selfidentify if you put out feelers through , surveys, or other means available. Some will already be playing with social technologies that they have self-provisioned outside of IT s view and will come armed with business insights. Train your community leaders. Just because someone is an expert in social media in their personal lives does not mean that they understand the organizational goals and strategy associated with your enterprise social initiative. Provide a formal program to train community leaders in the use of tools, organizational goals and how social supports them, decorum, and any diligence that is required in the way of maintaining privacy, security, intellectual capital. and compliance. Work with your training and learning management professionals to ensure that the program is well designed and more importantly, official. Certify them. Formalize the program with a certification process. Ensure that everyone knows that this program is supported by senior management and directly supports organizational goals. They should be prepared to help follow workers, aid in identifying business value for social, and help to avoid organizational risk associated with decorum issues, security, privacy and, compliance. They will need a solid grounding in these issues from their training. Market the program. Let your workforce know that your community leaders exist, who they are, and how they can support them. Make your community leader program a key component of your overall training and organizational change strategy. Ensure that anyone in the organization with questions, comments, and ideas knows who to go to.

6 6 Endnotes 1 The oldest of the 78 million US Baby Boomers are now reaching retirement age. Some will want to keep working either full- or part-time and others will have no other economic choice. But the vast majority will leave the workplace, creating a management challenge and a workforce vacuum. The group of 48 million Gen Xers is too small to replace the legions of exiting boomers. See the March 4, 2008, The Workforce Is Changing; What Are You Doing About It? report. 2 The Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are now entering the workplace. They bring sharp technology skills, a desire for challenging work, flexibility, mobility, and an ability to work well in teams. See the October 8, 2009, The Millennials Are Here! Are You Prepared? report. 3 Businesses large and small are continuing to invest in a range of collaboration technologies due to a link between collaboration software and business processes like project management and product development. For further information on the state of collaboration software investments and drivers for purchasing decisions, see the March 21, 2011, The State Of Collaboration Software Implementations: 2011 report. Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester works with professionals in 19 key roles at major companies providing proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more than 27 years, Forrester has been making IT, marketing, and technology industry leaders successful every day. For more information, visit Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester, Forrester Wave, RoleView, Technographics, TechRankings, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Reproduction or sharing of this content in any form without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. To purchase reprints of this document, please For additional reproduction and usage information, see Forrester s Citation Policy located at Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change

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