The workplace of tomorrow: It’s about the millennials

  • Need to inculcate ‘digital values,’ privacy and compliance a key part too
  • Millennials immersed in tech find their workplaces ‘10 years behind’
The workplace of tomorrow: It’s about the millennials

WHEN it comes to technology affecting the workforce of the future, it's ultimately not about the technology but the people, especially the attitudes and values of the so-called millennials.
At least, that’s according to the panellists in one discussion at the recent Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) International Symposium in Kuala Lumpur.
“We need to inculcate ‘digital values’,” said Jasmine Begum, Malaysia and New Markets director of legal and corporate affairs for Microsoft Corp.
“Is it the technology that you trust? Or is it the people that you trust?” she said during the discussion on The Impact of New Technology on Our Jobs and Ways of Working.
Moderator Nick Sutcliffe, managing director of The Conference Board, challenged the panel to explain the paradox that although technology has progressed to make work easier, global productivity has declined in recent years.
Many of the responses focused squarely on the millennials, especially their immersion in and comfort with technology, where the workplace generally lags.
“Today, for the average consumer, you’ve got more technology power in your phone, and when you go to the office you’re 10 years behind,” SAP Malaysia managing director Terrence Yong.
He argued that technology was just an enabler, and stressed the need to focus on equipping workers with skills such as “complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, [and] emotional intelligence.”
“I think it goes back to, often, fundamentals about trust and integrity,” he added.

READ ALSO: This is what Singapore’s ICT millennials look for in an employer
Chuah Jia Wen, head of finance at Google Malaysia, went one step further to say that employees should be empowered, quoting the example of his company’s policy of ‘emergent leadership.’
“Employees are expected to step up when it’s needed. But more importantly, as a leader, you need to know when to actually step back and let other people lead as well,” she said.
This was echoed by Jasmine, highlighting the call by Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smith earlier this year to inculcate ‘digital values’ and making privacy, compliance, transparency and security underpin the company’s work.
For a video of his speech, click below:

“How do you behave online? And how do you behave offline?” Jasmine said.
“I know millennials who cannot have face-to-face one-to-ones,” she added, despite the fact that they would need to work in a way that is consistent with the company’s workplace values, regardless of the technology used.
Previous Instalment: Your future workforce: Don’t tell us what to do!
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