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The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd-Review

The 2020 Workplace is a New York Times Best Seller and notable industry names such as IBM's Charles Hamilton are quoting the authors in their presentations.

The book is practical and authentic, based on research and experience.  The authors document the issues that employers and employees face as a new generation of workers join the workforce.  Technology enables individuals and organizations to behave and function in new and innovative ways.  As fewer baby boomers and traditionalists, retire and more workers join the workplace, we will soon have five generations of workers in organizations.

Meant to focus on "knowledge workers", and "connected" employees, the book outlines the issues and challenges along with suggestions for creating successful environments for workers to thrive.

Some interesting themes:

Understanding generational, cultural and other differences is key to creating productive environments.

Work time and free time lines are blurring because of technology, connectedness, and the tools of the social web.

Social responsibility is emerging as a key theme for growth in some markets.

Various forms of delivery and communications from classroom to online to podcasts and webinars will help address age diversity and learning style differences.

Tech savvy workers may be any age.  Younger workers do not always understand new technology even though they may have "grown up" with it.

When workers are deeply engaged with the organization, they have impact well beyond the walls their organization and the boundaries of their job function.  Engaged employees create engaged customers (or constituents, donors, etc.).

The concepts of open, transparent communications continue to evolve.

The book is well-worth reading.  Dr. Karie Willyerd recently founded Jambok (a social learning company) and sold it to Successfactors.  She's now with Successfactors and is a frequent speaker and participant at industry learning conferences.  She is also known for her work as chief learning offer for Sun Microsystems.  She blogs for the Web site of the Harvard Business Review.

Vicki Tambellini
President, The Tambellini Group and Enterprise Hive