Universities are pumping out technically literate graduates at a rapid rate. Indeed, you probably can’t even do a degree in Ancient Greek these days unless you are competent using online search methods, for instance. In other words, everyone joining the jobs market nowadays is technically competent.
Until a few years ago, the Internet and computers were reserved for a select few in many businesses. Now, it’s just accepted as normal, everyday.
However, many businesses are run by technically incompetent people. Chief executives delegate “that kind of stuff”. Indeed, there are some chief executives around (I know, I have met them) who reckon you fail to communicate effectively unless you use a fountain pen. Many of our current business leaders are from a different age; and this spells disaster for many businesses.
Twenty years ago, everyone entering the jobs market thought nothing of pen and paper; it was the means of communication – memos, scribbled notes and so on. Now, however, that’s all been replaced by instant messaging, SMS and social networking.
The current crop of graduates have been brought up on a technological diet; they just cannot cope with pen and paper. Indeed, I heard one recent graduate say that email was for “old people”; that shows how rapidly things are changing.
So what is your business doing to ensure that your new employees are able to fit in? One recent statistic I saw was that 70% of the FTSE 100 companies cannot accept job applications electronically. Yet 100% of their new employees really only know how to apply electronically. There is a chasm opening up between our current business leaders and the rest of the world. And it is a chasm those leaders are going to fall into, unless they take a radical look at their businesses and effect some major changes.
They need, for instance, to consider internal communications using text messaging; they need to only have instant messaging for important information, instead of emails; and they need to ensure that all their business operations are conducted online. Otherwise, their new employees will be unable to fit in. And that will either mean they won’t stay, or it will mean huge re-training costs. Either way, businesses can no longer simply use a few bits of technology – the bits the chief executive can cope with..!