The ACTE Column: Generation game

Create the culture and use the technology to reach out to all your employees and customers - whatever their ages

PIECING TOGETHER THREADS from an interesting line-up of keynote and breakout speakers at the ACTE Global conference in Paris, I was struck by the clear strategic messages coming through.

Did you know that it will soon be commonplace to have five generations of employee in your workplace? Have you thought what that may mean to your organisation? Embrace a multifaceted communication strategy to engage with all of your people if you want to reach everyone and enable them to move in the same direction.

Older employees may traditionally accept a mandate culture, but Gen Y employees want to feel they are making the right decision themselves, enabled by the organisation's infrastructure. They want to be led by public examples of good corporate citizenship and they want to contribute to it. They want to be rewarded for doing the right thing and they want their employer to make it easy for them to do it.

The Gen Y employee will enter the workplace with thousands of hours of computer gaming under their belt. Use that knowledge - use gaming strategies to create systems in your organisation that enable your employees to do the right thing easily, then publicly recognise them for it and they will become your champions.

OK, what about Facebook? If you can't see where it could fit in your organisation, think laterally.

Did you know the average age of a Facebook user is 37? Don't ignore it - if a large proportion of your non-Gen Y employees are using Facebook, sharing photos and status updates, and playing Mafia Wars, this sort of technology can be used effectively in your organisation.

It doesn't have to be Facebook - it can be something based on the technology of Facebook. A bridge to connect Gen Y, Gen X and the baby boomers. Start with peer reviews.

Give your employees a voice and listen to what they have to say. They can help you identify suppliers that are falling short of standards so you can do something about it. Surely it's best to know if a property or airline is not being used as it doesn't meet company needs, than realise at year-end that you have missed a target?

If we have another ash cloud crisis, crippling some lines of communication, your travellers will probably still have internet access. You can push messages to your travellers' mobile devices so they can access their corporate portal, via the cloud, where they can pull updates so you can keep them informed. Create a high-service organisational culture, as that is the future. Make service your value proposition and make it easy for your customers, internal or external, to do business with you.

And whatever you do, create a mobile and corporate social media strategy. Join ACTE and attend education events in Stockholm on November 28 and London on December 8 to find out how.

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