The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

Generation Y Mobile Technology: The Future of Work

I’m not usually very interested in mainstream work technologies from the standpoint of systematicHR.  However, I was listening to yet another ZDnet interview with a CIO (this time with Ray Gilbert of Alcatel-Lucent) regarding the next generation of technology.

“…desire to watch convergence take place, to get people down to one cell phone or one phone number, or get people down to one mailbox or one experience at their desk and the mobility off their desk.” 1

I don’t know what form this “smart” device will look like, but one thing that I am thinking about is how our workforce will adapt to it.  It’s probably clear that the Millennials (Gen Y) will have an easier time adjusting to these leaps of technology coming at us, but I’m not altogether convinced that the rest of us will have much difficulty adopting the technology.  Walk into any airport and you’ll see Blackberry devices everywhere.  The culture of not only convenience but also full time productivity has captivated us as a society and we’ve willingly learned how to use these devices that have made our lives easier

A couple of considerations of Gen Y and non-Gen Y

  • There is some justification for concern however.  All of us know of people who have rejected these devices.  Whether the reasons were for the difficulty of learning how to use them, or the unwillingness to be connected to work all the time, adoption has not been universal.  However, if the future holds a device that will unify voice and data into a single
  • On the other hand, if we’re going to be battling over the talented Millennials, “the generation wants to be mobile, wants instant access. It doesn’t take no as an excuse. And so it wants convenience, and that’s a requirement being applied to every corporation and every IT leader, to be able to provide that, and its not going to go away.” 2

This one might go to the IT organizations within our businesses, but how they manage and deploy change for our workforce technologies will play directly into our ability to engage the different generations of workers we employ.  Again, we in HR may not drive some of these processes, but we need to find our voice.  These technologies will shape our workforce, and we need to participate and influence how these decisions are made if we’re to be the HR leaders.


  1. Gilbert, Ray.  “Taking generation “Y” mobile.”  Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com on April 3, 2007. [back]
  2. Ibid [back]

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