Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

It takes time and effort to train up young workers, but how do you keep Gen Y happy and not moving on? Sometimes it comes down to how you arm them with technology, as Jonno Seidler reports.

Gen Y employees have a reputation as being tricky to manage. The stereotype goes that they either want everything at once or decide to move on as soon as they get it. Employers need to figure out how to train and retain young staff, while making their workplace attractive for the long term – and much of this centres around flexible approaches to technology. 

Generation Y wearing glasses and using a computer

This new generation are always switched on. The 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report revealed some 90 per cent of Gen Ys check their smartphones before they eat breakfast, and one in five update their Facebook accounts several times a day. Though 40 per cent of the companies they work for have strict policies against using computers for personal activity, nearly three-quarters of these Gen Ys ignore the rules. 

The days of being given a BlackBerry when you start a job because it’s the most secure solution are gone

- Tim Webber, Telstra

Tim Webber, the head of Mobility at Telstra, says the blending of personal and professional isn’t going to go away, and that “businesses need to change if they want to attract the best and brightest employees” to their door. The question for businesses is if it’s better to let employees bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, or to supply smartphones and tablets that are restricted for work use.
 
Mobile device management (MDM) technology, which monitors mobile devices, may be the answer, says Webber. “The days of being given a BlackBerry when you start a job because it’s the most secure solution are gone and most industries… are moving to a multi-mobile platform solution with over-the-top management via MDM."

This software can be applied to both supplied or BYOD devices, and can help businesses offer a degree of freedom without compromising productivity.

BYOD: Managing mobile devices for work

Smarter asked the experts at HP and BlackBerry for some advice on handling the BYOD trend. 

Jonno Seidler: Younger workers are already highly tech-savvy. How do you teach them effectively about using work technology productively? 

Manpal Jagpal, product marketing group manager, PCs, at HP: Using work technology productively is a question of flexibility and trust — but employees should be given a proper understanding of why policies are in place, where the responsibility will lie in case of something going wrong and who is there to help.  

A robust mobile device management (MDM) solution is a good way to set policies around mobile use. Examples would include the ability to lock down devices in case they are lost, remotely wiping confidential data or using the tools provided to locate the last known position of the device itself. 

Matthew Ball, managing director, BlackBerry, Australia and New Zealand: Many staff now have their own personal smartphone with unrestricted access to mobile internet and social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter. The temptation for staff exists to use these ‘second’ devices, which are not encrypted, for work purposes, which unfortunately opens up a whole range of compliance issues.

To address these challenges, companies can implement a device management solution that puts an access code on all devices, allowing company data to be wiped remotely. Businesses should also implement and communicate a clear and concise compliance code; it’s extremely important that staff understand and ‘buy into’ the policy. 

In addition, organisations can manage smartphone use by partitioning devices. Partitioning allows the company to draw a virtual line down the middle of the device. On one side is the work element, which is fully encrypted, while on the other side is the personal element of the device, which may include access to social media, personal email and a huge range of apps. 

For example, customers who adopt BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) will be able to partition devices via BlackBerry® Balance™.

JS: How can work-supplied tech (for example, tablets) contribute to loyalty and retention? 

MJ: If you give employees the tools to work outside of the box, you can increase productivity and help work-life balance. It also shows that you trust your staff to maintain the same high standards wherever, and whenever they work. 

MB: Once employees were tied to their PCs and their desks. Now the growth of worker mobility is driving the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, and in return these devices are encouraging worker mobility. 
With these developments it’s easy for business owners and employees to work remotely, often with more flexible hours, which is often an attractive proposition. Employee satisfaction with their mobile technology is key — as well as the ability of the company to protect corporate data and manage costs. 

JS: With regards to mobility technology, is it more cost-effective to support BYOD or supply specific hardware? What are the pros and cons of each approach? 

MJ: Each approach brings its own costs. Giving staff a choice of hardware from a small number of approved brands can be an effective compromise. It also lets IT departments — assuming you have one — work with devices they’re comfortable with. 

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