Tips on How to Best Reach This Generation’s Highest Potential
With a new generation beginning to take up the majority of the job market, employers will need to alter how they communicate in the workplace to tap into the highest potential of these new Gen Z employees. Take it from me, a member of Gen z who recently entered the workforce.
Who is Generation Z?
Generation Z is anyone born between the late ’90s and early 2000s. Gen Z is estimated to account for 61 million people in the U.S., a number that’s larger than Generation X and two-thirds the size of the baby boomers, according to the Consulting firm BridgeWorks. This generation grew up during the Great Recession and experienced a global pandemic as they entered their high school or college years. According to Pew Research Center, Gen Z is the first fully “digital native” generation. They are more diverse and more educated than others before them. Given the environment that Generation Z was raised in, they have developed certain generation-specific traits. These can be reflected in their expectations and attitudes toward their careers. It is imperative that employers understand this new workforce to help them reach their fullest potential.
What Gen Z Wants in Workplace Communication:
- Face-to-Face Interaction
In a generation that was raised surrounded by technology, you may be surprised to hear that around half of Generation Z prefers face-to-face communication in the workplace. With more and more online interactions, the value put on face-to-face interactions has increased. Often, intentions can be misconstrued or lost in translation over email or text. For example, your boss’s email saying “Great Work” has a different effect than hearing it from them while watching the proud smile form across their face. Generation Z strives for more face-to-face communication. As a member of Gen Z who recently entered the workforce, holding meetings face-to-face makes me feel more connected. Being remote, face-to-face interactions can be few and far between. Video calls can really make a positive difference in my day.
- Frequent and Constructive Feedback
This generation wants more than a paycheck; they want an opportunity to grow and develop their skills. They want to be coached. They want constructive criticism. Individuals in Gen Z are not afraid to embrace their failure and grow from it. According to a recent survey of Gen Z employees at the 22nd EY annual International Intern Leadership Conference (IILC), more than 80 percent said embracing failure helps them to be more innovative. While 17 percent believe that failure makes them more comfortable with taking a risk. As I transition into the workplace, honest feedback is essential, and the more, the better. For my generation, “ghosting” has become a norm. Some may think something is wrong if they don’t hear from their supervisors regularly. Even a daily “Hey, how are you?” goes a long way.
- More Opportunities for Connection
Generation Z grew up with the ability to connect with people always at their fingertips. Employers should diversify their methods of communication, so there are a variety of ways for employees to interact. As the generation of digital natives, Gen Z is not only used to the availability of information but also the immediacy of information. This generation grew up with texting, instant messaging, and Googling, thus they expect similar types of communication structures in the workplace. Having grown up using these platforms across all areas of my life, using them is almost second nature to me. I can see how emojis and abbreviated phrases could become more common than long formal emails. This would benefit me and my fellow Gen Z employees by making us feel more at home in the corporate world.
It Is Up To You
Sooner rather than later, the majority of the workforce will be consumed by Gen Z. This generation is full of potential, it is up to employers and business leaders to adopt communication strategies that connect with Gen Z and help them level up.