Finding the Tech Savvy Among Us: Be Inclusive!
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to throw up obstacles to work life, forcing companies and employees into new modes of operation. While these are stressful and disruptive times for millions of Americans, this disruption also opens the door to innovations in technology and processes and, therefore, serves as an opening to increasing the level of diversity and inclusion along the age spectrum.
In a COVID-19 World Technology Rules
With the federal government and nearly all U.S. states having issued some sort of stay-at-home order or guidelines, companies have been challenged to rapidly transition to remote work paradigms requiring heavy use of telecommunications technologies. This means that the logistics of companies from accounting and law firms to engineering organizations to insurance companies and many, many more now necessarily include a crucial telecommunications component.
Meetings can't run effectively and staff can't collaborate efficiently unless they can properly leverage tools like Zoom and Google Docs. The inherent technical expertise of the digital natives in Generation Y and Generation Z has suddenly becomes critical to the proper functioning of many organizations.
Identifying the Tech Savvy While Avoiding Unconscious Bias
While the environment we now find ourselves in creates a need for inclusivity with respect to younger workers who are likely the most tech-savvy among us, it doesn't necessarily follow that company policies, behaviors and attitudes will sufficiently adapt. Here are some tips for companies to tap into what may be unrecognized, or underappreciated, knowledge, while not falling prey to unconscious bias with respect to other generations' abilities:
Poll employees at all levels of the organization, and of all ages, on their skills and aptitude with telecommunications and remote work technologies. Don’t assume that only younger workers are comfortable with technology. Be inclusive!
For companies still hiring, update job postings to include familiarity with telecommunications and related technologies as a desired skill.
Offer training for staff who are digital neophytes and encourage more tech-savvy team members to support or lead those training sessions.
Inclusion and diversity are often thought of in terms of race and gender. These are, of course, important elements of inclusion and diversity, but there are other important differences among workers that must also be considered.
Let's Stay Productive, and Connected
The new climate of remote work means that younger digital natives may find themselves in a unique position of value and importance due to their inherent comfort level with the digital tools companies need now to stay productive—and connected—remotely.
Organizations of all kinds have been working to alleviate tension between generations and other diverse groups. We believe these organizations, however well-intentioned, are languishing in a stuck state. The key is for businesses to understand that diversity and inclusion are long-term goals that require long-term efforts and cannot be solved through short-term initiatives. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Our recent white paper, Overcoming the Stuck State offers some insights into the steps that need to be taken to get unstuck. Download a free copy here.
Are you tired of workplace diversity training that does not link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has strategic consulting, leadership development and inclusion learning solutions and that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.