This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Newsflash! Successful people never bring cell phones into meetings, according to Forbes contributor, Kevin Kruse. And guess who the biggest offenders are…you guessed it: millennials.


According to new research by the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, mentioned in the article:

86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during formal meetings

84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during formal meetings

75% think it’s inappropriate to read texts or emails during formal meetings

66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during any meetings

At least 22% think it’s inappropriate to use phones during any meetings

"Millennials were three times more likely than those over age 40 to think that checking text messages and emails during informal meetings was OK," according to Kruse's analysis. "However, unlike other millennial traits, this difference is one that could influence young professionals’ careers, as they typically reliant on those who are more senior, and older, for career advancement."


While there is no doubt that mobile devices can be a distraction in a work meeting, millennial generation-focused career counselor, Reggie Leonard II, says placing the blame on younger employees and their social media habits is neither the best approach nor the best way to solve the problem.

"Millennials do value face-to-face interactions. How could the #PhoneStack hashtag on Instagram and Twitter be so popular if Millennials didn't value respect and attentive listening?"

Leonard, who is a 28-year-old millennial himself, noted the main criticisms of the generation as being "entitled and lazy," while, "on the flop side, we're accused of being multi-taskers and driven." In fact, there are many generational traits that can benefit a company that hires younger talent.

In order to bridge the gap, Leonard gave the following suggestions:

For Millennials Working In More Traditional* Work Environments:

1. Communication and Respect Are Two-Way Streets. You may be able to send a quick text, check a couple of dates in your calendar, and shoot a quick email while retaining all of the information that your boss is sharing, but how will she know if your eyes are glued to the phone in your lap?


2. Be Present. My favorite bio from an Instagram profile simply read, “Be there. Do that.” If you’re in a meeting, be in the meeting, fully engaged. There’s something to be said for unplugging, and remaining present with your company. Trust and respect are earned, and sacrificing a brief moment of convenience for the sake of your coworkers communicates these ideals effectively. When your superiors and colleagues begin to trust and respect you, they may see more of a reason to follow some of the tips that I’ve provided above.

3. Schedule Your Posts. If you really need to send that tweet, post that status on FB, or upload that blog post, consider using a service such as Buffer or an IFTTT recipe to schedule your post. This will allow you to share your content, remain engaged, and free you up to afford your colleagues the courtesy of being present.


*The Forbes article only takes into account work environments that are against social media use, while some businesses, like tech start-ups and media companies, depend on it. "There are some industries where employees are expected to be attached to their devices," Leonard said. "In some cases, employers will even supply these workers with smartphones for work use."

For Hiring Managers Looking to Employ Millennials:

1. Provide an agenda. Whether it is verbal or written, it helps millennials to know that there is a flow and sense of order to the meeting.


2. Give them buy in. Patronizing millennials with unintelligible questions for the sake of “engagement” is something that will be seen right through. They’ve engaged at the university level for a significant period of their life, started a student organization, presented at conferences in their field, and have a decent following online, yet when they’re in the office, they’re relegated to a back corner of the table taking notes and following orders. If they’re used to influencing people in every area of their lives except this one, and are never given the opportunity to do so in the office, it is difficult for them to feel valued as a part of the team.

Even if it is not appropriate for them to have buy in on a current project, ask them to share what they’re working on, or a relevant innovate idea they’ve recently generated or come across. You would be surprised at what they can come up with.


3. Set Guidelines. Recently, numerous studies have begun to show that multitasking is not all that it has been cracked up to be. It is completely reasonable to request that smartphones not be used during meetings, formal or informal. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that millennials live by their smartphones, and their calendars and schedules are a large portion of that usage. If you will be throwing out dates and times in a meeting, consider allowing them to utilize their smartphones and tablets, just as other employees are allowed to use their leather-bound planners.

What's your company's policy on using mobile devises in meetings?

Share This Story

Get our newsletter