Businesses are beginning to understand that Generation Z communication in the workplace has a style all its own.
One of the most important aspects of employee communication, or of any communication for that matter, is your understanding of how to effectively communicate with your target audience. It helps to be fully aware of what drives them and what concerns they have. Generation Z is on the rise, making up more than a 1/3 of the earth’s population — about 25%, in the United States. So, understanding Generation Z communication in the workplace is crucial for business leaders hailing from previous generations. Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials, take note! Some basic facts about your up-and-coming Gen Z employees include these:
- They were born between 1996 and 2012. (They are the children of Gen X.)
- Although they are digital natives known for their attachment to mobile devices, they value authentic face-to-face communication.
- They have developed a healthy dose of skepticism.
- A good work-life balance is very important to them.
- They want to have clear expectations at work.
- They are already comfortable with all sorts of digital technology, and they can learn it very quickly on the job.
- In the U.S., they’re the most diverse generation ever, and they’re proud of it.
Learn more about Gen Zers and how to best communicate with them in the workplace.
Generation Z is on the rise, making up more than a 1/3 of the earth’s population — about 25%, in the United States.
Generation Z communication in the workplace: 3 things to know
Let’s take a look at how your up-and-coming Gen Z workers are likely to communicate, how to foster employee engagement with them, and how to create an environment where they make a positive impact on your company.
1. Your Gen Z employees’ general expectations
Because Gen Zers are such a diverse and socially-conscious group, it’s important for managers and the company to reflect their commitment to diversity and social awareness, as well. Members of Gen Z value transparency, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and environmental responsibility initiatives. It makes sense for hiring managers to highlight those efforts clearly to potential candidates and to new employees.
Another good idea is to ensure that the company is actually involved in community-based nonprofit organizations that align with the company vision. Other generations may not have noticed your company’s lack of social alignment, but your younger employees certainly will notice, and they’ll probably even ask about it. Because they tend to be skeptical (less than half of Generation Z report themselves to have trust in authority figures), it’s important to “walk the walk” and to be transparent about your company’s efforts. Transparency and openness and engagement in the community will help to boost employee engagement among this group.
2. Balance digital and in-person communication
There’s a general misconception that older workers might have about younger workers regarding workplace communication. Overall, their communication preferences are not all about instant messaging (although they are extremely savvy at it). They really thrive on in-person daily interactions and regular feedback. Perhaps because they’ve grown up with so much digital communication, they recognize its limitations for truly understanding what’s going on, especially in the workplace. They understand that digital communication fails to convey the important messages that we are able to receive via facial expressions, gestures, and body language.
The typical Gen Zer in the workplace reports a preference for in-person communication with management. Otherwise, they might have doubts about where they stand in the company — and this can damage the employee experience. With this in mind, internal company communicators need to offer a multifaceted approach when engaging with their Generation Z employees. It might look something like this:
- Since Gen Zers prefer in-person communication, hold quick, daily, in-person conversations and check-ins that allow regular feedback.
- Written communication, such as email, should be crisp and concise, delineating clear expectations.
- Include daily instant messaging conversations between teams to foster a daily 2-way conversation.
- Include useful graphics and short video content in emails and other internal communication. This also helps engage these young workers.
The typical Gen Zer in the workplace reports a preference for in-person communication with management. Otherwise, they might have doubts about where they stand in the company — and this can damage the employee experience.
3. Gen Z workers want work-life balance
Gen Z isn’t the first generation to demand a healthier work-life balance, but members of Gen Z have been the boldest about it so far, particularly when compared with their overworked millennial counterparts. Since they are creating a larger, upcoming workforce that is holding the future in its hands, they will have the power to do something about it, too.
Coming of age in the middle of a pandemic has proven to all of us that remote positions and flexible hours really do work. And more and more, balancing productivity with our personal lives is a big priority for all of the other generations in the workforce. It’s become clearer, to both workers and leaders alike, that a rewarding personal life and a rich work experience do not have to be mutually exclusive. It’s a brave new world, and Gen Z workers are in the vanguard of that work-life balance tidal wave.
Understand your generation Z workforce
It’s important for business leaders to understand Generation Z’s communication style, expectations, and work ethic, as we head into the future. Gen Z will — within not very many years — make up a large percentage of the new workforce, and they’ll continue to change the way things happen, both in society and in the workplace. Understanding what inspires them and how to communicate with them should simultaneously improve both employee engagement and productivity.
If you need instant access to proven knowledge and guidance about how HR professionals and business leaders can successfully manage multigenerational teams, reach out to the Zenefits team today. Learn more Gen Zers in the workplace with our free report.