How to get ready for the 'net generation'

DOD releases a guide to help managers adapt to the quirks and talents of the new generation of workers

The Defense Department has released a new manual that deals with social networking and the workplace.

The “Net Generation Guide,” put together by the Federal Chief Information Officers Council, notes that 957,000 federal employees will be eligible for retirement during the next few years, creating a shrinking workforce that has evolved considerably during the rise of the Internet.

The report also discusses how to draw in and keep up-and-coming workers – the Net Generation, defined as those between 17 and 31 years of age – who have been shaped by high technology and an abundance of information and speedy communications.

“We have to be prepared for a significantly changing workforce,” said Dave Wennergren, DOD's deputy CIO, speaking at the AFCEA Solutions conference in Fairfax, Va., May 18. “The Net Generation wants to work in public service, but has certain expectations,” such as the ability to exploit new technologies and social media in the office. “This is a new generation of tools” as well as workers, said Wennergren, who also is vice chair of the CIO council and contributed to the Net Generation report.

“We need to attract and retain the best and the brightest of these young workers,” he added.

In the guide’s foreword, Wennergren said it “addresses the importance of providing the Net Generation workforce with access to information age tools and capabilities, as well as providing them with an environment that unleashes and nurtures the fire of their innovation and creativity.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Reader Comments

Thu, May 27, 2010

I've never heard so many whiners.

Mon, May 24, 2010

I applaud the 40 somethings (i.e. Generation Xers) for stating the truth. I too am a 40 something who is upset with the Boomer Generation. When we were young they told us we had to wait our turn. Now they have held on so long that they are preparing the way for their children to take over. I once made the argument that our generation was being overlooked to a well known author (and Boomer) who writes books that promote the hiring of Generation Y. She agreed and thanked us for helping to the bridge the gap between the Boomers and the next generation. She also thanked us for inventing the technology that was making the new economy possible. Little consolation for a generation that continues to have to clean up the messes made by the Boomers and serves as nurse maid and nanny to the Gen Y kids.

Fri, May 21, 2010

this is total garbage... the net generation is all about time wasting technologies like facebook and twitter, cell phone texting instead of talking face to face with an individual... this is just encouraging a generation of people with extremely poor interpersonal skills that are needed for leading and managing a workforce. the worst thing to infect businesses was email. email is quick and effective; however, it isn't a substitute for face to face conversations between peers and between managers and their subordinates. email is one of the most misused forms of IT, and now with the explosion of facebook, twitter, and other useless apps, government executives are looking for ways to cowtow the next generation. IT technology is NOT the silver bullet to promote innovation and creativity... apparently there are too many "pointy-haired" bosses in government and the industries supporting it...stick with tools like the activity vector analysis (ava) and you can truly optimize your organization.

Fri, May 21, 2010

I'm also in my late forties, and I agree that my generation is being overlooked, but the other problem is that the boomers are waiting longer to retire, due to the poor economy. So, not only am I not getting the choice jobs that are coming up, I'm still waiting for some of them to open up when boomers finally decide to retire...

Thu, May 20, 2010

As someone in their late forties, I've already been overlooked by current management, as they start up programs and jobs for the "new tech" hires. I was supposed to be moving up to take over when the zillion baby boomer feds retired, but instead they are completely jumping over my generation and promoting the new people. It's a shame management doesn't appreciate the employees they have now who do a good job. (And yes - I am technically savvy, up on the latest trends, and am a really good employee - dependable, given awards, etc)

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above