Why is human resource development your passion? Why have you made it your life’s work?Meister: In my previous life, I worked in new product development, so I guess my life’s work has really been about innovation… I think there is nothing more important than how companies invest in their people; it’s the only true source of competitive advantage.
One prediction is that social media literacy will be a requirement for all employees. What is social media literacy?Meister: What we really mean by “literacy” is that employers will have to train their employees on how to conduct themselves online as a representative of the enterprise. People need to be told what to disclose and what not to, as they carry the employer brand with them online. This training will become as essential as diversity and ethics training. Employers must create understandable guidelines that show employees how to be respectful and responsible. It’s confusing, because people are now using the same tools in their professional lives as they do in their personal lives. They need to understand that what is in the public domain will follow them forever. Employers can help their employees understand the potential implications of their actions online.
Why do you think that multiple generations will have such a major impact on the 2020 workplace?Meister: That’s a big takeaway from this book: that there will be members of five generations in the workplace in 2020. Their various generational working and learning styles will change the way we do business. Yet, we were surprised to find that it’s not just younger people who are into social media; the usage and power of social media to connect and communicate is a multigenerational phenomenon. Social media can also facilitate companies’ accommodation of generational preferences. For example, Millennials crave constant feedback; they don’t want to wait until the annual review to see how they’re doing. Social media makes on-demand mentoring and microfeedback possible; we see more companies reaching out through these platforms.
One of your predictions is that “The corporate curriculum will use video games, simulations, and alternate reality games as key delivery modes.” Why is this important?Meister: More than 11 million people already play World of Warcraft. As they enter the workforce, they will increasingly expect corporate training to mimic their online experience. Multiplayer online role-playing games are great for developing leadership and complex critical-thinking skills. Alternate-reality games allow corporate training to mimic real-world experiences in a safe, no-risk environment. They fully engage participants in a highly collaborate and social experience, while they learn a range of complex skills. Games also speak to Gen Xers’ desire to question content, and to Millennials’ desire to find information for themselves.
How can communications professionals and their organizations prepare for the 2020 workplace?
Meister: We recommend that they emphasize agility. It’s crucial to develop an organizational ability to acquire new knowledge and skills across functions to adapt to a changing environment. Social networking platforms can help to facilitate knowledge sharing, but it’s also important to continue to learn about learning. Conduct learning reviews after every major customer win or loss. Ask questions across the organization to anticipate and visualize the future. Use the work environment as a learning laboratory.“