Effective Workplace Communication Skills for Working with Gen Z Employees
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Learn about effective ways to communicate across generations. In this lesson, we focus mainly on Generation Z. By understanding communication protocols, worldview, expanded definitions of diversity, feedback preferences, etc., we can more effectively interact with Gen Z.

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Today we're going to talk about how to effectively communicate with Generation Z, Gen Z, and this will also come in handy if you are in a position of many aging Gen Z as well. Let's get started.

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The first thing is to get to know them. Talk to them. This might sound simple, but it reveals so much. So you really want to do this to understand their frame of reference, their world view, their understanding of the world. The world has changed a lot since you were born, and if you're not a Gen Z yourself, then there's a lot to learn from this generation.

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So millennials were brought up with self esteem culture, right? That idea of you can do anything, you can be anything. The world is your oyster. Gen Z has been brought up with the mentality of You win some, you lose some, and more often than not, you lose some. So it gets them really to fight for what they want, not to be complacent in any way, and to be super competitive.

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Because, again, it's that you win some, you lose some mentality. Second thing is to know their communication preferences. So believe it or not, if you ask Gen Z, the majority of people will say that their top communication method or their method of choice is not texting. Surprisingly, because we have this understanding that people are always on their phones these days, particularly Gen Z, but it's actually face to face communication and that is also my favorite.

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And face to face communication in this setting also includes video. So it's not just the in-person face to face interactions we have, but it's also those online virtual interactions where you can see the person at least, you know, head and shoulders kind of thing. So that's really interesting. And 84% of Gen Z prefers that type of face to face communication.

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Also emojis, they often think in symbols. So in the workplace, this might be a little bit tricky, but it's important to set clear parameters for a communication protocol. If for some reason emojis are not going to cut it, if they don't seem professional enough, then that needs to be communicated to Gen Z. If it's a more relaxed or even startup culture than maybe Gen Z is okay to use emojis, maybe that's part of the work culture.

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It's really about setting clear parameters for these communication protocols and so that everyone's on the same page when it comes to how to communicate correctly. The third thing is to let them lead the conversation about diversity and inclusion. You might need to expand your own definition of diversity. 48% of Gen Z is multicultural, and it's also the last largely white generation.

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So make sure you level set on the meaning of diversity because your definition might be too limited and to Gen Z. That could also include things like personality test interests, hobbies, zodiac signs, Enneagram numbers, your love language, etc. And all of this falls under diversity and inclusion. So it's really about including all these different elements and being aware that such diversity exists because it does.

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All right. The fourth thing is feedback. There's a lot of nuance when it comes to feedback. Each generation is different when it comes to how they expect to receive feedback and how they're going to be receptive to it. So if we go back to the baby boomer generation that generation is more accustomed to receiving more formal feedback, for example, to discuss performance and salary.

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And that wouldn't happen that frequently in the workplace setting, maybe once or twice a year around performance reviews or salary raises and reviews. Then Gen X rolls around and they wanted performance reviews and salary discussions separated, not just clumped in one meeting, and they also wanted to have more feedback throughout the year, not just once or twice. Then millennials came about and they're not really used to getting bad feedback or constructive criticism.

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So for millennials, they need to be more eased into feedback. Remember, they come from that self-esteem generation where you can do anything, you can be anything. So it's no surprise that easing into feedback is the way to go and potentially even doing something like the Velvet Hammer method, where you ease them into it with some compliments, some nice feedback, and then the criticism, and then Gen Z comes into play and they really expect frequent feedback.

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They want feedback to be delivered in a timely manner fast. Think about it. When you post something on social media, you get a like right away. You'll get a comment right away within a couple of minutes or even hours of posting. Right. So it's no wonder that that generation who grew up with social media, they're the true essence of a digital native.

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It's no wonder that the way they receive feedback is similar. They want it fast and they want it instant. So this is not a situation where once a year feedback is going to cut it. They want it instant. They want it to be direct and they want to get it as fast as possible. So a lot of that has to do with social media culture.

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And like I said, the likes and the feedback and that instant response rate. So because they prefer direct feedback, you really want to think about not beating around the bush, not hedging when you give constructive criticism or feedback, but rather delivering it straight up, give it to them directly and back up your statement. Say why that is because they're going to ask you for a follow up.

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They're not just going to sit there and take your criticism. They're going to say, okay, tell me why. Why is that? So they're going to challenge you to open the conversation up to discussion and what they're going to also expect you do as you're providing your feedback is giving them an opportunity for them to share their feedback with you.

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So don't be surprised. I would even say welcome their feedback. Ask them for their feedback as well. This is a perfect opportunity to have feedback on both sides. All right. Number five, the need for speed. This can tie into this idea of FOMO, the fear of missing out. And I'll tell you why. It's this idea that we need to act fast on an idea.

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We need to act on it and do all the things to enable it to come into fruition. We need to act on it before someone else does. Right. So the challenge could be that if someone from Gen Z really wants to act on an idea straight away, they might just hastily put together a strategy or not even come up with a strategy and execute before it's ready to be executed.

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So you can see how this might tie in to the FOMO idea, where the fear of missing out on this opportunity is tied to being afraid of letting someone else take that idea or letting someone else act on that idea. But the issue with this is that sometimes there might not be enough strategy involved. So it's important to sit with an idea to maybe even let it percolate or even ruminate, dare I say, get innovative, get creative.

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You got to think on it, right? Don't be hasty with these kinds of decisions and that can cause some clash in a way. If people feel like one team of people feel like they need to act on it, the others feel like they need to take more time for strategy development. So it's really about a balance in that regard and maybe even considering taking more time sitting with the idea of coming up with a clear strategy and then acting on it.

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All right. Number six, work life blend. So it's not so much the work life balance that is a thing of the past in a lot of ways. You know, so much of our life has become work from home, work from wherever, work from anywhere. Now we're getting back into the office settings. A lot of us, there's a hybrid kind of configuration.

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But if we learned anything, it's not so much a balance anymore as it is a blend. So thinking about really focusing on output and that work and life are blended into one another. So really, you know, when you're thinking about managing in Gen Z or effectively communicating with Gen Z, shifting the focus from the what and the when the work gets done to focusing on performance and results.

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Right? So, so not what work gets done when the work gets done, but show me the performance. Show me the results. Right. Because Gen Z and their side hustles are a very real thing. Side hustles are becoming even more and more important these days. So a side hustle might also be part of their schedule. So really shifting the focus then to performance and getting the results that you want, because if someone's output is high, then they're doing their job right.

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All right. Explearners, that's it for me today. Thank you so much for joining me for this lesson. I hope that you enjoyed it. If you did, give it a big thumbs up. If you're watching on YouTube and if you're listening to our podcast, make sure to leave us a nice review. You can leave up to five stars.

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We really appreciate it and we really appreciate your time. So thank you so much for spending it with me today. And if you want to check out the lesson and the transcript of this lesson, you can go to our blog at Explearning dot co forward slash blog. While you're there, feel free to sign up for our newsletter. It's 100% free and you'll get all the newest.

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Until then, keep up the awesome work and I will see you very soon. Happy Explearning, everyone.

About the Author and the Explearning Academy:

Mary Daphne is an expert in communication, executive interpersonal skills, and personal development. She is the founder of the Explearning Academy, a platform dedicated to helping individuals enhance their social fluency, boost their careers, and elevate their social game. Through immersive group coaching programs like the Executive Communication Lab and self-guided journeys, participants gain the social superpowers and career catapults they've been searching for. If you're ready to take your negotiation skills to the next level and connect with like-minded individuals, visit academy.explearning.co and explore the various plans available. Join the Explearning Academy community and unlock your full potential.

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