There seems to be a lot written lately about access to Web 2.0 tools as an attractive thing in a workplace, and potentially something that would cause Generation Y employees to go to a particular work place. Kim, another GoC blogger, wrote on this topic on her blog Serving Canadians. I’d like to respond to her post, specifically this section:
I did not choose my job / place of work because of the personal or professional social networking sites I can or cannot access. Moreover, when I look for job opportunities I am not attracted to whether or not they are tweet and blog friendly. I look at the substantive content of the work. I ask about the work atmosphere. I look at the pay. I stay in / am attracted to my current job because it is challenging, engaging, interesting, I have good management, creative license, and fantastic peers and networks.
As a fellow Gen-Yer, I would tend to agree. I chose my place of work for similar reasons, and really, when we look at other generations, the reasoning isn’t all that different. But is there a link to be made to Web 2.0 tools? I think there is on two levels:
Web 2.0 Tools as a Symptom of a Trusting Workplace
Try to think of a workplace that encourages creativity, allows employees to take risks, and improve themselves, encouraging them to build skill sets that allow them to contribute to their workplace in greater way.
Now imagine a place that does that, but blocks access to all Web 2.0 tools.
I’m not convinced a place that that exists.
Access to Web 2.0 tools is a symptom of a healthy workplace that meets the other criteria that Kim mentioned as things she find attractive in a job posting. Those tools enhance the workplace, expand networks, and allow us to explore and utilize our current licence. Extending this, we could also see how access to these tools demonstrates an inherent level of trust that the department has of its employees. Sounds like a place I’d like to work in!
Web 2.0 Tools as a Symbol of the Public Service
In the context of the Public Service of Canada, providing access to these tools sends a message not only to public servants, but also to the public at large – that public servants are listening and engaged in their work, and don’t simply exist the Ottawa-bubble. By disallowing access to these tools, the message that is sent is that Public Servants ought not to be engaging, or even following, what is happening.
As we move towards an era of open government, it becomes increasingly important to give public servants access to not only the tools, but also to guidelines on acceptable use. From there, we need trust – trust that the public will react well, that public servants will act responsibly. So are Web 2.0 tools necessary? No, not entirely. I suppose it is conceptually possibly for a workplace to exist today that is creative, trusting, and dedicated to developing its employees to serve Canadians.
But I can’t think of one.