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Communication and Collaboration

5 tips to effectively communicate with Gen Z employees

Effective communication with Generation Z (Gen Z) is becoming increasingly essential for organizations that want to succeed in attracting and retaining top young talent.

9 minute read
Gen Z Employees Communicating At Workplace

“Hey Emily 👋 u free for a meeting tmrw”

“Ya, im free @ 9 tmr 👌”

“Cool, i’ll send u the invite 👍”

Short, sweet, effective. That’s communication with Gen Z in a nutshell. 

Especially given that remote or hybrid work is now the norm, gone are the days of leaning over your cubicle to ask your coworker a question or calling everyone to the board room for a meeting. Internal comms is now often a quick ping on an instant messaging app with short notes and an emoji or GIF sprinkled on top or a Zoom invite for a team meeting. 

Suffice it to say, the dynamics of workplace communication have changed. And the workforce is changing too. 

The latest generation of workers, “Gen Z”, is anticipated to make up a third of the workforce by 2030. These new entrants to the job market bring unique communication preferences, technological skills, and expectations that challenge traditional workplace norms.

Staying ahead of the curve and learning how to effectively communicate with Gen Z is crucial for creating a positive work environment. To understand how to connect with Gen Z employees, we cover the following sections:

Generation Z: who are they?

Generation Z, or Gen Z, consists of individuals born from 1997-2012, making them the youngest members of today’s workforce. Most notably, Gen Z is the first generation to have never experienced a world without the internet, smartphones, or social media. And it shows—their digital savviness is ingrained in their everyday interactions, communication methods, and problem-solving strategies.

What does Gen Z value in their work and career?

Gen Z constitutes more than a quarter of the US population and is the most diverse generation. Understanding the unique characteristics of Gen Z is essential for fostering engagement, productivity, and innovation in the workplace.

Gen Z Stats LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index

Gen Z is the generation that desires purpose and personal growth the most in their careers.
Source: LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index research

Authenticity

Thanks to their native exposure to digital media, Gen Z is highly attuned to detecting inauthenticity, whether it’s in advertising, social media, or personal interactions. As such, they value genuine connections and experiences, seeking authenticity in all aspects of their lives.

Gen Z values authenticity in leadership and organizational culture. They seek out workplaces where they can be their true selves, where their voices are heard and respected, and where they can make a meaningful impact. Employers who prioritize authenticity in their communication and practices are more likely to attract and retain Generation Z talent.

Purpose

Gen Z wants more than just a paycheck—they want a job that means something, where they can make a real difference in the world. They aren’t afraid to stand behind their values and pursue a career that aligns with their passions. Gen Z expresses the greatest desire to find a career that aligns with their interests and values (80%).

Flexibility

Gen Z commonly challenge the traditional 9-to-5 grind and they’re not afraid to shake things up. Generation Z craves flexibility in their work schedules and environments, whether it’s remote work options, flexible hours, or the ability to balance work and life in a way that works for them. This can be seen in the current business landscape—89% of Gen Z employees are working jobs that allow them to choose their schedules.

Learning and growth

Contrary to what older generations may think, Gen Z aren’t slackers simply punching in and out of work. They’re hungry for knowledge and eager to develop new skills. Out of all the generations, they have expressed the greatest desire for more opportunities to move up or increase responsibilities (61%) and more opportunities to learn or practice new skills (76%). Gen Z are not afraid to take risks and try new things, as long as it helps them grow personally and professionally.

5 tips to effectively communicate with Gen Z in the workplace

So, your organization has honed in on its core values, offers flexible work schedules, provides learning and growth opportunities, and is now attracting quality Gen Z talent—well done for being a step ahead of the rest of the pack! 

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I interact with this generation of professionals??” After all, you don’t want to cost your business $62.4 million due to poor employee communication in the workplace. 

We get it, so here are the top 5 tips to effectively communicate with your Generation Z employees:

1. Keep it concise and visual

We’ve seen a decline in attention span across the past few decades (the average attention span is now 8 seconds compared to 12 seconds in 2000!), so when you’re communicating with Gen Z, keep your messages quick and easy to digest. 

With the rise of the “visual online culture”, Gen Z are more commonly conveying themselves through visual media, whether it’s emojis, GIFs or videos. When sending info, consider adding some visual pizzazz.

2. Be authentic and transparent

Remember what we said about Gen Z valuing authenticity? Throw your ego out and don’t be afraid to show vulnerability or admit mistakes—Gen Z workers appreciate that! Communicate openly and transparently about company updates, challenges, and successes. 

Empower Gen Z employees to take ownership of their work and encourage them to explore innovative approaches to solving problems. And communicate the company’s commitment to employee development and offer resources to support their professional growth.

3. Encourage two-way communication

Foster a culture of open communication where Gen Z employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. In fact, strong internal communication is highly encouraged in the workplace in general. 

Encourage feedback and dialogue through regular check-ins, team meetings, and anonymous surveys. Also, don’t just take their feedback and call it a day; actively listen to their feedback and demonstrate that their voices are heard and valued.

4. Celebrate achievements and milestones

A Mintel report shared that 85% of Gen Z appreciate commemorating accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be big accomplishments either. Whether it’s meeting project deadlines, exceeding performance targets, or personal accomplishments, acknowledging Gen Z workers’ contributions goes a long way in boosting their morale, motivation, and engagement within the workplace.

5. Embrace digital channels

Whether it’s sharing updates on social media, engaging in real-time conversations on messaging apps, or hosting video meetings, using digital channels is essential for reaching and resonating with Gen Z. (See below the best channels to communicate with Gen Z.)

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5 best channels to effectively communicate with Gen Z

Gen Z is a generation that has grown up in the digital world, so they’re most comfortable and responsive to communication methods that align with their tech-savvy nature aka digital channels. According to an Edison Mail study, Gen Z’s three main communication channels are SMS (69%), email (31%), and social media (29%). 

We understand that digital channels are the main method to reach Gen Z, but let’s explore the 5 best channels to effectively communicate with them in the workplace:

1. Instant messaging apps

60% of Gen Z prefer to communicate with friends through text message or instant messaging, so interacting with them through instant messaging apps like Slack or Teams would be seamless. These apps enable real-time communication, making them ideal for addressing urgent queries, providing feedback, or sharing updates.

2. Company intranet platforms

Poll

You can add interactive polls on intranet platforms, such as ThoughtFarmer.

Building a company intranet platform can help facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among Generation Z professionals. These platforms provide a centralized hub for sharing information, collaborating on projects, and fostering a sense of community within your organization. The key is to find an intranet that’s intuitive, secure, and integrative.

3. Email

Although email may seem outdated to some, it’s still understood as an important communication channel, especially for formal matters. When conducting email communication, remember these essential tips: keep emails concise, visually appealing, and personalized.

5. Social media platforms

Gen Z has grown up with social media as their main communication medium. They spend a significant amount of time on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, X, and Snapchat. Although you may not want to conduct your internal communication on these platforms, these outlets are a great way to share updates and showcase the company’s culture.

Communicating with Gen Z in the workplace

Understanding how to connect with Gen Z employees is essential for succession planning for the future and fostering a thriving work environment with a diverse workforce.

Key takeaways:

  • Generation Z or Gen Z are born between 1997-2012 and are the first generation to be fully immersed in the digital age. Understanding their unique characteristics is vital for workplace engagement, productivity, and innovation. 
  • Gen Z values authenticity in their interactions; purpose and personal growth in their careers; flexibility in work schedules and environments; and opportunities for learning and growth.
  • To effectively communicate with Gen Z, prioritize concise and visual communication methods; embrace authenticity and transparency; encourage two-way communication; and leverage digital communication channels
  • Gen Z are most responsive to communication methods aligned with their tech-savvy nature, such as instant messaging apps, intranet platforms, email, video conferencing, and social media.

A great solution for streamlining communications, as well as knowledge management and training, is setting up a modern intranet

An intranet platform is a digital employee hub that’s excellent for collaboration and information sharing, not just for Gen Z employees, but for everyone in the workplace. Talk with an expert to get started today.