Call them the New Workforce, Generation Next or the ‘Nexters’ – the new kids on the professional workplace block are tech-savvy like no generation before them. The fact is that the number of Nexters is growing, and they are making their presence felt on corporate cultures around the world in the process.

This is one of the insights to emerge from a recent youth event, SHIFT, hosted by Intel and Lenovo. Delegates agreed that the companies who recognise the value that Generation Next’s tech-wise traits bring to an organisation will rapidly differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

The quarterly SHIFT events serve as a podium for industry thought leaders and tech-savvy youth to share current issues and trends – in this case, the value first-time employees are able to bring to companies.

“If consulted, these young employees (often first-time jobbers) can be an enormous catalyst for progressive evolution and success in their companies,” says Intel South Africa’s head of marketing, Ntombezinhle Modiselle.

Monique de Klerk, Lenovo South Africa’s marketing manager, says that to the current crop of young people entering the job market, technology goes so much further than being just a tool to occasionally use when needed. “Nexters have a grip on, and are invested in, technology as never before.”

According to research by www.thesocialworkplace.com , productivity increases significantly when employees are able to collaborate, communicate and share knowledge and expertise in the same way as the youth share updates on Facebook or Twitter.

In other words, says Modiselle, collaboration will lead to a unifying workforce where corporate walls are broken down and employees’ input is seen as valued. A high-performance culture, where engaged employees understand how their work is connected to business strategies, leads directly to their buy-in and growth within that organisation.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, transforming traditional methods of business communication and operation into virtual and immediate forms is now easier than ever. This means employers have the opportunity to enrich the working environment using technologies like mobile, social media, communities and wireless communication.

“Companies need to adopt and own Nexters’ mature attitude of engagement toward technology and social media if they’re going to breed loyalty in a generation of people often perceived as not loyal,” says Modiselle.

“Young employees, as a result of their broad range of skills and know-how, often jump from one opportunity to the next, in much the same way as how technology gadgets morph into the next generation in shorter spaces of time than ever before. Companies who recognise this, and work with it, will be the big success stories of the coming decades.”