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Workplace Communication Protocols for Generation Z

November 21, 2017

Generation Z communications

As Generation Z transitions out of school and into the workforce, these new employees bring with them a unique set of knowledge, skills, and abilities. They also face challenges when determining how best to communicate with older co-workers, a subject of focus in the AMA seminar Communicating Across Generations: Bridging the Gap.

Although a significant proportion of Gen Z’ers are still part-timers or interns, early experiences along their career paths will reinforce valuable lessons in business communication and etiquette. The way they interact with peers and supervisors can play a pivotal role in their development.

For post-Millennials, determining which methods of communication are most appropriate may depend on who they’re interacting with and the situation at hand. Post-Millennials in the workplace appreciate the ease of smartphones. Who doesn’t? These devices aid with organizing and accomplishing tasks and getting in touch with contacts easily. But post-Millennials must know when it’s appropriate to text, email, or leave a voice-mail message—and when to put down the phone and talk in person. Although email may be simpler, for example, some messages shouldn’t be delivered by this method.

Generation Z and communication in the workplace

Here are some tips from the AMA seminar on when to use various workplace communication methods:

Face-to-face interactions and meetings. Communicating in person is considered essential if a message bears emotional content. Any issue with the potential for disagreement or conflict is also best handled by way of a physical meeting.

An advantage of this type of communication for post-Millennials is that it offers the opportunity to analyze a message more deeply, particularly through body language. The best aspect of holding a face-to-face meeting, though, is that it allows opportunities for discussion and problem solving.

Email and instant messaging. Digital correspondence can be a tricky medium. If instant feedback isn’t essential but the speedy delivery of a message is, this method may be appropriate. It’s quick and convenient. However, it’s inappropriate when there is potential for conflict or misinterpretation.

Ideally, emails are great for summarizing action items and leaving a paper trail for later reference. Instant messaging makes quick workplace communication even easier and is commonly used by younger generations. Because it allows for real-time conversation, organizations are becoming more comfortable with this platform and its efficiency. Beware the use of shorthand and acronyms, and use instant messaging only when it’s appropriate.

Voice mail. Leaving a voice-mail message may seem a bit antiquated, but it’s still ideal for many scenarios. If you need to be explicit in your message, voice may enhance it by providing tone and emphasis. However, as with email, if a message possesses emotional content, it is better delivered in person.

Social networking. Millennials and Generation Z have greatly embraced the platform of social networking. Businesses are increasingly expanding into the social space, and this new territory offers the possibility to connect with peers and share interests.

Organizations can now obtain answers, information, and comments on how to improve from within their network. It’s also a great way to promote their culture. As a word of caution, members of professional networks should always be mindful to use good sharing behaviors online.

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About The Author

Joseph Mazzola has been a learning solutions associate at American Management Association since 2016. He works with clients and internal teams to develop customized course content and coordinate logistics. Mazzola is also responsible for the open enrollment for AMA’s sales training catalog. A member of Generation Y, he is an avid gamer, constant reader, movie buff, and rock music enthusiast.

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