How the Social Media Generation is Changing Corporate Culture

Amanda Houseman    November 21, 2013

Later born Millennials, also known as Generation Y or the Social Media Generation, are entering the work force and bringing significant change with them, thanks to their upbringing alongside the likes of MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

The most obvious changes are the use of technologies like social networks, mobile devices, instant messaging and the connection to the online world. For many of them, social media has always existed. But can they bring value beyond a better understanding of computers and the internet?

The Social Media Generation were born thinking outside of the box. When they come to work, they are more accustoming to using a wide variety of online tools to help solve new and unfamiliar problems in their job. If the workplace does not provide them with the social media tools they need, it can undermine a Millennial’s potential productivity. It also sends a signal to the new employee that the employer does not adapt to change or welcome new ideas. For a Millennial, being connected to their social networks can mean having a world of knowledge at their fingertips.

Millennials value their freedom, and have been noted to value workplace flexibility over pay. They also put a high level of focus on building real relationships, quality reputations, sustainability, social engagement, and becoming a transparent organization. Theories point to organizations who can’t adapt to this new culture will shrink, and will not prosper in the long run.

Social Media has raised Mlilennials with a social and global awareness greater than that of any previous generation.

Because they had the Internet to turn to, they come into their adult years with a very different perspective on both themselves and those around them—in person and online. Unlike the older Millennials, this generation is very social and very collaborative. Human equality, diversity, human rights are birthrights for them.  (Forbes)

Thanks to shifting views regarding equality, 60% of all recent college graduates in America are women, which will bring about great change for the upcoming workforce. Women are increasingly dominating all aspects of society, including business, and this will play a part in changing corporate culture. When asked about their goals for the future, more Milliennials consider making a difference and doing work that matters more important than financial success. Generally speaking, this is the first generation to care more about doing meaningful work, than making more money than the generation of their parents.

Another change from this generation that has created a boom is the volume of start-up businesses and their increasing influence. Online, no one is of more or less importance, so there is equal opportunity, and new voices and ideas are being heard.  Startups are also successful when they’re built on an “everyone contributes equally” model. Again, this is a very popular cultural model for Millennials, and has proven to be a successful one.

Who are Millennials?

Lessons for everyone

Millennials bring great value to the workplace. They can be hardworking and driven, and place value on making positive change. The social shifts that come with bringing Millennials into the workplace will eventually be seen as a natural evolution and although the generation gap is big right now, there is much opportunity for multi-generational mentoring in the workplace.


 Web resources

Forbes – Getting to know the generation gap

Mashable – Startups & employee culture 

Monster – social media in the workplace – How the Facebook generation…

Wikipedia – Millenials


Submitted by: Amanda Houseman – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.


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