Is Your Organization on a CD Player While Everyone Else Is Using an iPod?

The New York City subway is the fastest commute in the city. In a matter of a few minutes you can transverse the boroughs.

It is also an amalgam of characters — from the very rich to the homeless, from senior citizens to grade school kids, from well dressed to tattered jeans. More importantly you see both the latest and, the oldest, of technology being used. Gen X & Y, I have noticed, always seems to have the latest piece of new technology.

You name it and you can see the contrast on the subway. It has to be an anthropological utopia.

Keeping up with changing technology

This week as I boarded my normal express train, I noticed a gentleman sitting with his earphones on and all but dancing in the seat. As I maneuvered to take the seat next to him, what I initially thought was an iPod or mp3 player turned out to be a CD player that he was holding level to keep it from skipping.

I smiled to myself and thought, wow, is he behind the times. Nevertheless, the music was the same and he was still getting his groove on.

On Father’s Day, my daughter bought me a Kindle. When the Kindle first came out I saw people on the subway glued to the screen. I would pull out my 300-plus page book and the reading was the same. I could not for the life of me figure out why someone would pay for a Kindle to read a book.

That was until I got one. Now I keep the Kindle with me everywhere and I will not leave the house without it.

Last month there was an announcement that LinkedIn was introducing a feature called “apply with LinkedIn,” that would allow job seekers to apply for a job with one click. No more clumsy uploading, filling out page after page of forms, or having the system freeze and having to start all over again.

My daughter told me that during her job search, when it became too cumbersome and time consuming, she would just give up and move on. In her circle, that seems to be the norm.

Change shouldn’t make you jump off the deep end

So as I read the announcement, I followed the comments on various websites to get a feel for the acceptance of this new feature. Then I read comments from some folks in our profession who right away saw everything that was wrong with it, — why it would not work, why LinkedIn would never replace the resume, and on and on.

My thought was: here we go again with new technology, and right away, we jump off the deep end. Never mind that Gen X & Y would lap this new feature up. Never mind that the workforce is getting younger and they are easily able to adapt to new, cool technology. Yes, apply with ONE click; it is about the user experience.

It reminds me of how when social media came on the scene, folks spent countless hours worrying about policy.

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When the iPad came out I read an interesting story of airlines testing the tool and eventually replacing all the bulky manuals that pilots lug around with an iPad with all the updated information. And restaurants are now using iPads for their menu.

This is innovation at its height. No one invented this ipad for basically industrial or commercial use, but companies are adapting this new technology to their use.

Why not embrace change?

Some 20 years ago, the Internet (World Wide Web) was made available to the public. Think for a minute how that has changed our lives. What would we do (and what did we do) if there was no Internet available?

The paper resume, I am willing to bet, is on a slow road to extinction. This is a document that, for the most part, has not changed since it first came on the scene to document our work history. Today, there are so many tools and apps for resumes that are a lot simpler and easier to use.

The Internet has created a fissure and it is a slow leak to mass transformation as new apps make the user experience much more pleasurable. Remember, the workforce is changing and it is skewing younger. These younger workers are adept at using new technology and will not tolerate some of these antiquated ATS sytems with all their bugs.

Robert Kennedy said in one of his speeches:

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Let’s not be the organization that still uses the CD player while everyone around us is listening to the iPod.

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.

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