November 21, 2017
As Generation Z transitions out of school and into the workforce, these employees will bring with them a unique set of knowledge, skills, and abilities. But they’ll 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 the person 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 contacting people 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.
Here are some tips from the AMA seminar to help Gen Z’ers know 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 that has the potential for disagreement or conflict is also best handled through 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 in many scenarios. If you need to be explicit in your message, voice may enhance it by providing tone and emphasis. However, as with email, a message that possesses emotional content 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 employees the possibility of connecting with peers and sharing interests. As a word of caution, members of professional networks should always be mindful to use good sharing behaviors online.
Through social media networks, organizations can also obtain information and comments on how to improve from employee feedback and interactions. The platform offers the opportunity to promote the organization’s culture as well.