4 Reasons Why Generation Z Brings a Human Communication Style to the Workplace

Generation Z has entered the labour market. Not only does this generation possess a smartphone and new skills, they also have a completely different value system to that of older colleagues. This has the potential for conflict. At the same time however, Gen Z presents a huge opportunity for companies.

We proudly present: Gen Z – just under two billion young people worldwide, born between the late nineties and today. Since around 2011, they have been gradually entering the labour market, where they come into contact with colleagues and managers from the Baby Boomer, Gen X and Y generations:

  • Baby Boomers: from around 1946 to around 1964
  • Gen X: from around 1965 to around 1979
  • Gen Y / Millennials: from around 1980 to around 1998
  • Gen Z: from around 1995 until today

From 2020, Gen Z will account for approximately 35 percent of all employees. Its members are already causing waves with managers and colleagues, due to the typical differences that naturally occur from one generation to the next.

1. Gen Z Loves the Idea of Community

Like no generation ever before, they have enjoyed access to a variety of digital devices since childhood. They played on tablets before they could utter a word and received smartphones as early as primary school.

Since then, the smartphone has been a constant companion to them, without which they would feel uncomfortable or cut off from the world. Gen Z is part of a fully connected, 24/7 online community, in which virtual and personal contacts are considered equal:

  • WhatsApp is opened immediately after the alarm goes off
  • Snapchat and Instagram are used several times a day.
  • YouTube dominates with its moving images. 95 percent use it – and half of them say they can’t live without it.
  • Facebook is a thing of the past and serves only as a means to keep in touch with parents or grandparents or to follow popular brands.

Gen Z takes all this for granted since they never knew life in the pre-internet era – times when you couldn’t make phone calls and surf the internet simultaneously. Unlike Gen X, which still plays an active role in developing technology, Gen Z has not really helped to shape technological progress. Gen Z are users, yet they are not familiar with the technical basis upon which their devices operate. Much like Gen X and the era of broadcast TV, where Baby Boomers grew up during the advent of TV; Gen X has no real idea what life was like without TV.

2. Gen Z Cultivates Multitasking in the Workplace

In this regard, Gen Z is incredibly capable of multitasking. Its members move back and forth between the real and virtual worlds, across channels, recording all information and then filtering it. This gives them differing views on social norms.

Many find it acceptable to text during a family meal or to send a message during a conversation – they seamlessly switch between physical human interaction and digital communication channels. In everyday business life, research is conducted on the internet during a meeting and the results are directly included.

On the other hand, Gen Z is easily distracted and needs to work on their attention span. Studies show that the time they can focus on something without getting distracted is around eight seconds. Gen Y is at least a little better with an attention span of 12 seconds.

The diversity of means of communication at your workplace is greater than ever before. Do you send your colleagues chat messages? Or do you prefer to call? Or do you connect via a video meeting? In this blog post you will learn how to choose the perfect means of communication for every situation.

3. Popular and Effective: Gen Z Relies on Personal Dialogue

Many Gen Zers are well aware that multitasking is not necessarily effective. They are realistically, critical of their own weaknesses and realise how distracting the smartphone can be. It is for these reasons that around 50 percent consider personal conversation to be the most effective method of communication.

However, this view distinguishes Europe from the rest of the world. Globally however, the proportion of those who prefer digital exchange is much higher. Yet, other studies see another reason for the preference for face-to-face communication.

Gen Z communicates with more than speaking and writing. They also communicate using images, emoticons, memes, voice messages, GIFs, short videos and live streaming. That’s why they also want a strong mix of communication tools at work, tools that mix speaking, writing and visual elements.

4. Fairness is Important to Gen Z

For Gen Z, the working atmosphere is also one of the most important criteria when choosing an employer. Gen Z wants to feel comfortable, meaning that the ideal company must also champion social values such as:

  • Humaneness
  • Ethics
  • Openness
  • Equal opportunity

Gen Z has already changed the working world as we know it today – and this is set to continue in the future. Communication that focuses on effectiveness and personality is the key to successful intergenerational cooperation at the workplace.

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