Businesses are also scrambling to understand and work alongside a new breed of employee. Psychology professor Larry D. Rosen says that baby boomer bosses need to "give [Net Generation employees] a job, stand back and let them work." The focus should be on the product, not the process. Net Generation workers are still going to multitask. They'll have their iPod on, six browser windows open and three instant messaging conversations going while they're writing software code.
Author and Net Generation expert Don Tapscott emphasizes the importance of freedom to the Net Generation worker. Traditional office bureaucracies leave the Net Generation employee feeling penned in. He won't have the patience to draft a memo and send it up the chain of command to get feedback.
The free flow of ideas is essential. An entry-level employee should be able to instant message a senior executive with an idea and expect a response. Employees should be able to set up virtual teams within offices and across different locations to develop new ideas independently.
Rosen says Net Generation workers are used to the awards and accolades showered upon them as overachieving high school and college students, and the workplace should be no exception. Net Generation workers expect quick feedback from superiors and incentives for jobs well done, like extra vacation time or prizes.
Net Generation workers want to telecommute at least a portion of their hours or create flexible work schedules that may not jibe with the traditional 9-to-5. They also have hobbies and interests as eclectic as their Web surfing histories. For many of them, work will never be the center of their lives, and they search out employers who understand the importance of maintaining a healthy work-play balance.
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