The generation known as Zoomers, often referred to as “digital natives,” entered a world where technology seamlessly integrated into daily life. Some of them took their first steps in a world where mobile devices were already a part of their surroundings. Capable of editing videos on their smartphones with astonishing speed, their lives seem to orbit around their online presence.
who exactly is grappling with Tech Shame?
Recent research by LaSalle Network revealed that almost half of the 2022 graduates who entered the workforce that year felt technologically unprepared and inadequate in their new work environments. These individuals, who seemingly effortlessly master technology in their personal lives, are suddenly struggling to adapt to the digital demands of their jobs.
In a survey conducted by HP, it was found that 20% of Gen Z workers feel scrutinized by their older colleagues whenever they encounter a technological challenge, adding an extra layer of complexity to their situation. This issue has grown so prevalent that it has acquired its own label: tech shame. This feeling of inadequacy and embarrassment when faced with technical hurdles has become a significant source of anxiety among young employees.
what exactly is Tech Shame?
While this term has recently gained popularity in the workplace, largely due to The Guardian and the HP survey, it’s not a new phenomenon. Tech shame has existed for as long as people have used technology at work, takes on various forms, and isn’t limited to younger employees. When confronted with technological challenges in a new and unfamiliar environment, it’s common for people to feel inadequate, a sentiment that most individuals have encountered at some point when grappling with new technologies.
Now, you might wonder, why is tech shame such a big deal? As a manager, your primary goal should be to nurture a supportive environment where everyone feels comfortable asking questions, expressing themselves, and collaborating to find solutions.
A thriving team can only emerge when ideas flow freely, and mutual respect is the guiding principle. This environment is unlikely to develop when team members are subject to ridicule, no matter how harmless the jokes may seem to those who make them. The fundamental point here is that tech shame is a real concern that demands the attention of corporate management if they aspire to unlock their team’s full potential and retain young employees long enough for that magic to happen.
While tech shame has always been present, it poses a greater challenge for younger individuals today. So, what can be done to address this issue?
Managers should pay careful attention to the dynamics of cross-generational teams, particularly when one age group is outnumbered. Recognizing tech shaming as a form of harassment is crucial, and there is no shortage of reasons to steer clear of it. What may appear as harmless jokes to one person can undermine the confidence and self-worth of another. Creating an inclusive and supportive work environment is essential.
Furthermore, it might be beneficial to assess your company’s digital skills gap. This can be accomplished through surveys, interviews, and various technological tools. Consistent communication is key to identifying areas where your staff may be struggling or lacking information. Regular check-ins, an open-door policy, and a safe space for employees to ask questions are all essential if you want them to perform at their best.