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Gen Z is Here -- Is Your Workplace Communications Strategy Ready?

Posted by Sandy Yu on 6.28.2018


Look out working world, there’s a new generation of employees in town. Gen Z, characterized as those born between 1995 and 2012, are now in their twenties and entering the workforce.

At approximately 72.8 million strong, this group is about to make their presence known in the workplace. But to attract and retain this new wave of employees, business leaders must alter their workforce communications strategy.

And with 28 percent of Gen Z putting more focus on personal connections than millennials, according to a recent Adecco report, it’s crucial you know how to make those connections quick, yet meaningful.

Here’s what a few of our favorite experts said about creating a unique workplace communications experience for Gen Z:

1. Stop assuming.

Don’t make assumptions about workplace communication with any200px x 200px – Crowdsourced Headshot (1) generation. Leaders can be older or younger than the people they communicate with. If you send the same messages out to everyone, expect that they will receive and interpret them differently.

My research and experience has led me to believe that generational diversity (difference in attitudes) informs and influences attitudes and behaviors regarding all other aspects of diversity and inclusion. It’s the missing piece in the approach most organizations currently take.

Having said that, more than millennials, Gen Z has shown a preference for in-person communication. When not face-to-face, they use short snippets in their messages as well as emojis and other images rather than words -- even more than other generations. They don’t like PowerPoints. And they are much more concerned about privacy than millennials.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot, President and Founder at Practice Development Counsel

2. Find out their favorite communication channels.

200px x 200px – Crowdsourced Headshot (2)With five generations in the workplace now, each with different preferences for workplace communication, it’s important that HR adapt their methods of communication and support to employees.

Effective employee engagement has been shown to lead to better employee retention. So, engaging with employees in the medium they are comfortable with is important to improve retention. The younger generation typically doesn’t like email or voicemail, but prefer app-based interaction on mobile devices.

Simon Porter, WW Vice President Sales of Digital HR Services at NGA Human Resources

3. Communicate clearly and honestly.

Beginning with millennials and continuing to Gen Z, companies have grappled with workplace communication and recruitment strategies. In our experience at Right Recruiting, it comes down to one word: clarity.

Employers need to communicate clearly. Many employers try gimmicks 200px x 200px – Crowdsourced Headshot (3)(outings, picnics, etc.) that make things worse. Younger employees are not children and don’t want to be pandered to; they want to be treated like adults.

However, they don't want to be treated like adults were 20 and 30 years ago. Older generations were more accepting of a ‘command and control’ corporate culture and accepted decisions from above blindly. We have found that both millennials and Gen Z have more curiosity about the ‘why’ behind decisions.

To a secure manager, that is a good thing. To a bad manager, that is a challenge to his or her authority.

We try to make our interactions with all generations include clarity. We make a point of explaining decisions made by our clients, even decisions that may not be what the person wants to hear. We have found that even when delivering bad or unpleasant news, younger generations are OK if they are told the ‘why’ behind the decision in a clear and honest manner.

Jeff Zinser, Principal and Founder at Right Recruiting

Want to successfully communicate with team members from all generations? Find out how! 

Topics: employee communication, Gen Z, workplace communication

Human Resources Today