No one—including Generation Z—wants to be slave to their phone or smart device.
Yet, it would appear they need some help as 67 percent of Generation Z say that they experience a high level of stress when their phone is lost, broken, or stops working.
Below are the tips I suggested to the owners in order to help their Generation Z employees give their full attention at work and to customers.
A way to get ahead of the device problem, is to identify what kind of boundaries an employee has with their devices during the hiring process. To reveal what kind of self-control a Generation Z candidate has with their device, ask these questions during an interview:
Use this opportunity to clearly reinforce your company device policy.
Letting a device direct one’s attention is like getting in a car and letting it decide where you drive. Helping Generation Z manage their technology and not allowing technology to manage them is critical in today’s attention-poor culture.
Generation Z—and most people who own a smartphone—have conditioned themselves to check their phone upon any ding, ping, or ring. Similar to Pavlov’s dogs that were conditioned to salivate upon hearing the sound of a metronome instead of at the actual presence of food.
Encourage Generation Z to resist the urge to check their device after every notification. Have them ride the arc of the craving to check and consciously choose not to check. Every time they successfully beat the urge to check, they strengthen their resolve and can begin to regain control of their focus.
For communications that are absolutely critical or urgent, identify a communication channel for emergencies only.
No too long ago, employers carved out time and places where cigarette-addicted people could take a "smoke break.” Why not create a time or place where device-addicted employees are free to use their devices as they wish?
Dishes aren't washed every time a single plate is dirtied. Dishes are done in batches. In the same way, ask Gen Z to batch their device use so that they can be fully present during the task at hand.
When I deliver keynotes or training sessions, I am competing with breaking news, urgent emails, text messages, and the mobile version of Fortnite for the attention of the audience. Instead of demanding they turn their devices off, I earn their attention by do the following…
Gen Z wants more human elements at work, their behavior might not reflect this desire but create human-to-human opportunities for them anyways.
Nothing communicates “we forgot you were starting today” than not having the new hire’s technology set-up. Ensure all company issued hardware and devices are live and pre-loaded with the new hire’s favorite utility applications.
Whether your company device policy is a free-for-all or forbids all device use, clearly and consistently communicating the why behind the policy is a must. “No devices because I (the manager) said so,” is not a compelling enough reason for Generation Z to ignore their device.
A compelling why to share with Generation Z is how devices can negatively impact our ability to establish emotional connections.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.
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