Building a Workplace for a Wide Spectrum of Generations

I’ve spent the last few working days briefing Government Agencies about how Microsoft approaches a new release of Office and decide on the investments in new features to give our customers new capabilities to support the emerging world of work.

I highlight activities that provide insight to us for what the workplace will look like in the future such as:

For those of you that have heard me talk about Microsoft Office, I am passionate about creating a workplace that attracts and retains young workers.  But it’s more than that – it’s about creating an environment that gives your workforce a capacity that allows high performance and use technology to their advantage if a person chooses to.  More and more over time high performing people are leveraging technology, in fact rely on technology, to be a high performer.

Consider this now obvious case – if a smart young MBA straight out of University joins an organisation that does not use Email.  An MBA won’t be able to work in a style that they are accustomed to.  While email is ubiquitous to most workers these days, we analyse the emerging capabilities that people will “need” to get the job done – Blogs, Instant Messaging, Social Networking with Colleagues as some possible examples.

However I’m waking up to a new reality that extends these concepts.  With a troubled economy and a workforce of people that are close to retiring age have recently lost a large % of their superannuation and retirement savings.  These people are now going to be working longer and demanding more flexibility in their work arrangements with concessions such as part time, work from home etc while they delay their retirement.

Today in The Australian Newspaper there is an article by Bernard Salt – Demographer and Analyst with KPMG that outlines this situation nicely that organisations, in particular Government, better get ready for a generation of demanding retirees.  In the article,21985,25361112-5000117,00.html Bernard closes with:

“Work will be, in fact must be, a large part of this new narrative for life beyond 60. The challenge for all levels of government will be to co-ordinate and to facilitate this lifestyle for the first generation of over-60s who will be educated, opinionated, articulate and, perhaps most confronting, well organised.

Stand by for a new generation of demanding retirees. Demanding of work, of their families and especially of government”