Over the past 8 months or so, I find we have given liberty to our children in accessing the digital devices to attend their online classes and other educational purposes. Knowingly or unknowingly children are given access to internet. On the same time, I happened to see a movie on Netflix titled “the Social dilemma”, which tried to explain the dangerous human impact of social networking. I liked the movie and its take on the different aspects of its impact which we are noticing in our day to day settings. I liked the concept of subjective experiences of reward, pleasure, and addiction. There are not only movies created to explain the devastating impact of social sites even wonderful books are also written on the mind explaining how upcoming generations might adapt to the varied technological changes and need for regulating the websites. This topic of how the future generations are impacted from a cautious mindset was something new for me. When I wrote digital transformation book, I have started off explaining how the Millennials are adopting to digital technologies and what we can notice in coming 20 years of time, when majority of those will be the members of mainstream industrial activities and some might be even CIOs leading the organizational IT landscapes.

The nature of issues which we are witnessing in the social network like spending time with social messages, diverting their energy on sharing social messages, craving for short time dopamine loads, getting entertained with short videos of 30 sec, distraction from engaging with people around, lack of deep thinking abilities, trouble with face to face skills and hesitation to spend time to pick up a phone and talk. Visualize companies are going to digital in their way of handling the day to day activities. One of the areas where companies are investing time is around user experience like providing micro blogging sites, content sharing sites, chat networks, feeds gathering social information, access to twitter, other content sharing sites and even likes and dislikes buttons on the images which are shared by employees and provision of space for comments. The change we are witnessing is phenomenal as we have witnessed how our computers were blocked to even accessing social sites in internet to actually feeding social information within the company community.

It would be an interesting discussion of how this provision of user experience & Social tools inside the organization are going to impact the employee’s behaviour. Are we going to witness similar social dilemma which we are witnessing as explained by the movie? What is that companies need to do to handle the scenario? What if employees have clashes over the internet over their social responses. It is not uncommon how employees feel when they post a content to internal microblogging site which has is not received well. I believe there should be a healthy discussion on the future of such user experience tools within the organizations and the need for right direction. I still remember an episode from my past where use of internal social site was used to ridicule a particular group of employees. I know companies follow strict protocols on ethical behaviours, however there is a very thin line between what is right and what is not.

To conclude, the introduction of user experience and social / employee collaboration tools are going to provide digital edge and help organizations manage many employee engagement initiatives. However those are not without limitations and chance of risking the organizational ethical fabric. We are also at the risk of getting influenced by the social discussions happening within the organizations, chances of getting manipulated by the employees and even craving for likes and comments. Since the corporations are governed by strict operational norms the chances of we getting into issues similar to the movie might be limited but not impossible. With the given controls within the organization we can argue that there is no evidence of negative impact from sensible and proportionate use of technology; however with each great opportunity lies a underlaying risk and we need to vigilant to the unexpected problems.

  • Screen capture of the amount of time employees spending accessing social and collaboration tools within the organizations
  • Type of responses it is invoking during the discussions like negative, positive or neutral emotions
  • Did you notice violation of organizational policies while employees posting their content in the social forms within the organization. How frequently you notice such issues
  • Do you have a forum and team who are dedicated to address the issues which arise during the collaboration tools usage and did you have an option of flagging a post as inappropriate.

Day by day we are going to witness Millennials entering the corporations and Digital Immigrants learning the new ways of working and explore the new fronts. Corporations needs to develop proper controls and protocols and content moderation in some scenarios like bullying one particular group of employees. I highly recommend going through book by Susan Greenfield on “ Mind Change – How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains and watch Netflix Movie on “the social dilemma” for a different perspective.

Thanks

Jayakumar

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