Internal Communication Blog

How to communicate with Gen Z (at work)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Organizations have finally gotten used to working and communicating with millennials. Out with the old, in with the new: the ‘children’ of Gen Z are now old enough to work for you. Does that mean you have to throw out your old communication strategy and rethink all your communication methods? No, but there are some things you should consider when communicating with these digital natives. This is how to communicate with Gen Z at work.

Ask for their feedback and input

Gen Z grew up glued to their smartphones, always checking some sort of social media. Sharing their opinions and input is deeply ingrained in their daily behavior, and so they will expect to be able to share opinions and input in their workplace. Give them the feeling their opinion matters and that their feedback is valuable to optimize their experiences at work.

How to do it

Allow these young professionals to share their feedback and opinions. Organize brainstorming sessions and ask them to create content to provide fresh insights; they’re usually very tech-savvy and can create engaging short-form videos about all sorts of topics in no time. Ask for their opinions by creating polls or pulse surveys; it’s a quick and easy way to gain insights into their opinion and experiences.

Netpresenter Mac Polls

Personalize your messages

As Gen Z grew up with social media, they’re used to algorithms selecting the most relevant and interesting content. They rarely get to see anything irrelevant, and when they do, they quickly move on. Personalize your messages to reach them with vital information and ensure they keep coming back to your communication channels.

How to do it

Form audience groups based on location, department, project team, team, et cetera – whatever works best for your organization. Create and tailor interesting and relevant messages for your various audience groups and target them when you send them a message. This way, you will never send an irrelevant message to anyone, and no one will miss any messages they should have seen. It’s a great way to keep things personal and relevant for your Gen Z employees (and, basically, every other generation).

Take a multichannel approach

As the children of the digital age, Gen Z employees have never known a non-digital world and were raised on smartphones. Only 2 percent of Gen Z don’t own a smartphone. How they communicate at work isn’t any different. They are used to looking at multiple screens, often double screening (scrolling Instagram and watching Netflix simultaneously, for example), or switching between applications.

How to do it

To accommodate their needs, make sure you can reach your Gen Z employees through their smartphones, whether via text message, a mobile app, or notifications. But while smartphones may be their favorite devices in their private time, don’t spread your communication exclusively via your staff’s phones.

A multichannel approach won’t only help you reach a multigenerational audience. It will also increase readership and engagement, as publishing content on multiple channels will help you capture attention in more places. Make advantage of your Gen Z employees’ smartphones, but also use laptops, desktops, or digital signage screens to spread your message.

workplace wellness

Promote workplace wellness

Of all generations in your workforce, Gen Z are most likely to report poor mental health. 27 percent of Gen Z report their mental health as fair or poor. Because of this, about 54 percent of GenZs find a company-supported wellness program important or extremely important.

How to do it

A series of wellness campaigns undertakes activities to improve the state of body and mind. This can be done virtually or within the office. Promote your wellness campaigns via multiple communication channels to ensure GenZs know that your organization puts their mental and physical health first. Show, for example, wellness tips on a loop via their screensavers and notify them when the weekly yoga is about to start (which they can follow in-office or from home). They are going to love your investment in their health.

Bite-size your content

If you thought millennials have a short attention span (twelve seconds), you’re in for a surprise – Gen Z’s attention span has decreased to eight seconds. They use that eight-second attention span as a finely tuned filter to sort and digest content at lightning-fast speeds. So if you want to get their attention, get it fast.

How to do it

Bite-size your content. Make it scannable and keep it short. When it catches Gen Zs interest, they are willing and curious to read, hear, or see more. Don’t immediately serve them the full information. Give them a summary, and redirect them to the full information once you have their attention. For example, by showing a summary on your digital signage screens and adding a QR code they can scan that redirects them to the full article on your intranet or a website. Or publish information in a series of shorter, tweet-like messages with interesting headlines to convey your message fast.

QR codes for digital signage

Make it visual

Gen Z is used to visual content, as they spend most of their time using highly visual communication channels such as social media and communicate through memes, GIFs, and stickers on WhatsApp. Catching their attention may just be a bit easier when your message is visually appealing instead of just paragraphs of text (this goes for every generation – we’re all getting used to visual communication).

How to do it

Depending on a message’s goal and target audience, visual communication can consist of several forms, such as infographics, diagrams, charts, animations, pictures, or videos. Even GIFs and memes can be used to convey information. Text surely still has a role to play, but pairing your message with visual elements helps to grab the attention and deliver your message quickly and clearly.

Are you still unsure how to communicate with Gen Z at work, or do you want some help optimizing your communication for all generations? Get in touch with one of our consultants; they are happy to discuss what’s best for your situation. Schedule a free 30-minute demo to discover how Netpresenter can help you connect your employees to each other and your organization! Or download our free guide to find the right communication tools to reach your employees.

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Dave Schmeitz

Dave is Netpresenter's Online Marketing Manager. He likes to share his knowledge about engaging and inspiring employees. Dave also loves to travel and dance L.A. style Salsa and Bachata.