Wiping Out Tech-Shaming in the Workplace


We live in a digital age, with new technologies and smarter devices being developed continuously, and at a rapid pace. And while these advancements certainly make many tasks a lot more manageable in general, there are some downsides to such speedy progression. Many businesses operate with a vastly mixed generation workforce, meaning that the challenges faced on a daily basis, when it comes to technology, are many and varied. Inevitably, this had led to so-called ‘tech-shaming’.

But what exactly is tech-shaming, and how can you ensure it becomes a thing of the past, relegated along with fax machines and dial-up internet?

Tech-shaming is a term coined by HP, who carried out a study  into hybrid working in the modern age. The report found that one in five Gen-Z workers felt judged when tech issues cropped up, stating they felt ill-equipped to deal with the problems they were facing. These younger employees are actually ten times more likely to feel shame due to this- with many even opting to purchase their own tech to avoid future embarrassments, despite being unable to afford the same high-tech equipment as more senior staff.

On the flip side, you have older employees who simply did not grow up alongside the internet in the same way as their younger counterparts. The result? One group that cannot work a printer, and another that cannot fathom Google docs. And in a world that relies so heavily on being online- from shopping, to dating, to banking, to socialising- there are now some very new skillsets required to succeed.

The tech-shame comes about as each group struggles to understand the plight of the other. The young employees were born with technology at their fingertips, so its assumed that they’e instinctive masters of it all. But in reality, according to a report by Dell Technologies  a staggering 56% of the 18-26 year olds they surveyed felt they’d received ‘basic to no digital skills education’. And as a result, many new employees actually feel ill-prepared to enter today’s workforce.

Basic digital literacy is no doubt an essential skill these days- and it can be argued that it’s up to educational facilities to ensure that future generations are able to use the technology that’s becoming more and more integrated into our lives. This is one way that we can wipe out tech-shaming in the future, but what can be done for current employees?

A similar focus on training is crucial for existing staff, with regular refresher courses to ensure that all employees can be proficient in the technologies they need to do their jobs well. Up-skilling is vital for companies, and should be a top priority for all.

When in comes to recruitment, employers will be looking for candidates who have a specific set of basic skills when it comes to digital proficiency- and these skills will be expected, whether you grew up with the internet, or way before it.

Businesses now need to not only wipe out tech-shaming, but to make moves away from tech-blaming too- the misconception that technology is intent on putting people out of work. We need to acknowledge the fact that technology is changing jobs, not taking them- and that all employees need to up-skill to keep up.

Posted by: Branwell Ford