I remember the first four days of my new job at PwC. It was back in 2006. Sitting in a room learning IT: all functional, technical, how to use software. All day for four days. Click here, click here, click here. It was such waste of time because no-one remembered anything. You didn't need the information until you needed to use the software.

But I also noticed there was nothing about the skills and behaviours that drove the tools. Nothing about how the "employer brand" came to life. And it was a world away from the collaborative experience I had in university, even then. 

I experienced Digital Culture ShockThe difference between the collaborative digital culture you are used to to and what you experience in a new environment. 

Recently, I've been working with two groups of undergraduate students from the University of Michigan with a research project on this topic (together we coined the phrase Digital Culture Shock). They have found out the same is still true as I experienced in 2006.

These incredible students come from collaborative university environments. Collaboration is the norm, with behaviours and skills that work well with technology. Google Drive is standard, social apps keep them connected both inside and outside the classroom. The behaviours and skills they practice are for work, as well as fun. University is social, so they learn what working socially means. Tech and culture go hand in hand. But essentially, to get good grades, it's the people side, the social side. Tech is just a facilitator around different schedules and priorities (is it a surprise university life is not 9-5?).

Poor students. They leave this environment to experience a complete culture shock at work.

We have found that while most companies might train on the tech, they don't broaden their approach to the behaviours and skills that make collaboration successful. 

Almost all companies pitch an "employer brand" about collaboration. But the reality is so much different, sometimes painfully so. I would guess about 90% of legacy companies have uncollaborative cultures. They might well have good technology, but don't unlock its potential.

How do you help young employees stay resilient in the face of such a different work environment? Never mind the silly HR warnings: "the millennials are coming!" (or "Gen Z" sigh) ... perhaps they should stay away? 

We want to find the 10% - the companies that bridge the collaboration gap between school, college/university and work. If you work in such a place, please reach out so I can connect you with the student teams.