I was pleasantly surprised with the feedback that I received from my previous article about Generation Z. I can’t say that there was a lot in it that people didn’t already know, but I was extremely appreciative for the conversations that the article sparked regarding the differences between Gen X (most of us reading this now), Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Z – the newest group hitting the workforce. I will not claim to be an expert. However, I do have 2 Gen X (myself and my husband), 2 Millennials and 2 Gen Z’s at my fingertips every day. While in my house we all “grew up” together and share a lot of the same tendencies, the differences amongst our friends and co-workers are glaringly obvious.
With all that in mind, I thought I would dig in a little more and really shine a spotlight on what we may be missing in our day to day communications with our Gen Z team. The key word is:
If you have read any of my previous articles, you have seen me say “there is no way to over-communicate”. That remains even more so relevant with Gen Z. They want to trick us into believing that they are “loners”, because we will often find them off to the side on their phone – but that IS their communication. And they live for it and are lost without it. We have all joked about this, but it is now bleeding into the workforce and has become a necessity to understand its importance.
So, what are we missing?
In a recent article that I came across, it indicated that 60% of Gen Z staff want multiple check-ins from their manager in a week or they won’t stay at their job. 40% want those check-ins daily!! You know those Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual reviews that most managers pride themselves on? Those need to hit the shredder!!! The good news is that daily interactions from their managers can be via email or a text, Facebook, Instagram message, Twitter DM or snapchat. A phone call or meeting takes too long. Technological feedback will let your “Z” know that they are going down the right path or may need to make a right or a left instead. That is all they need. As with all generations, praise is always the best way to boost morale and keep your staff engaged. For Gen Z, sending a GIF with Tina Fey doing a happy dance is equal to giving them an Excellent on their Performance Evaluation.
How many group chats or group emails do you have set up on your phone? As with most of us – I am sure there are many. The natural follow-up question is “how annoying is it when one comment is sent out and everyone responds?” Especially when you are in a client meeting or on a call…I get it. Group chats make sense though, and they are convenient.
However, Gen Z wants to feel “special”. They want their feedback to be individualized – the good and the bad. Trust me – if it is good feedback, they will share it with whomever they want to know. But the “constructive criticism” should be discussed one on one.
Additionally, face to face meetings are important for your Gen Z employee to feel as though they are a part of the team’s success. Coffee at Starbucks, Lunch at their favorite spot or some other venue outside of the office. And, don’t forget to be transparent!!! Chances are pretty good that if you are not, they will know or find out eventually and then the trust is broken.
Understanding Gen Z is critical! If you don’t understand WHY they only communicate via text and email, pair them with someone who does. There are numerous studies that have been done over the years that continues to be relevant for all generations, on the various ways that people learn effectively.
The successful supervisors can manage the different types of communications that work and understands that individuals learn and comprehend differently. Back in the day – it used to be “Audio, Visual, and Kinesthetic”. Today, we must add Technological. Realistically Social Media is its own communication and to insure the best results from your Gen Z workforce, the best managers and supervisors should be knowledgeable and comfortable communicating via Social Media.
I am looking forward to your feedback on this article or Generation Z in general. Feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.