Previously I looked at the myth that enterprise social software is like Facebook. Another myth that keeps coming up in customer discussions is that organisations need to adopt social tools because young people coming into the organisation will refuse to work with anything else. The additional point made, is that older workers will struggle to change.
Now, whilst young people might be more naturally inclined to gravitate toward something marketed as “corporate Facebook” and older workers might be turned off by such an idea, there is no reason why a well thought through roll out of social tools will struggle with getting people over 30 to adopt them. Take the success of Blackberrys amongst senior (and older) executives. This has changed how people work (for better or worse is a separate discussion) and “adoption” amongst older workers has not been a problem. I know of senior doctors in the NHS using Google calendar to schedule rotas for their departments because the official systems are so bad. iPad adoption within organisations is being driven by executives, not the new graduates or IT geeks.
These people naturally gravitate towards systems that make their lives easier, and if we can demonstrate that social tools do the same then adoption across generational boundaries won’t be a problem. People won’t adopt or want to use social software because it’s cute – and older workers may well be turned off if it is rolled out and communicated as “social tools – like Facebook”. They will use it across all age ranges if it saves them time and makes them more effective. We need to show how it helps them to do business – fast.