Generation Z employees need direct communication
Managers may underestimate Gen Z’s desire for face time
AUTHOR Valerie Bolden-Barrett
PUBLISHED | Nov. 7, 2019
- Separating Generation Z employees from their devices might seem impossible, but a new ServiceNow survey found 83% of working Gen Zers prefer face-to-face interaction with their managers. By contrast, 82% managers in a separate survey said Gen Zers prefer to communicate via instant message. ServiceNow said its research found that members of the generation think technology can streamline their work life and are also willing to both learn from and assist their older peers.
- In other survey findings, most Gen Z employees (69%) think their technology experience at work should be as painless as the equivalent experience they receive at home. More than half of would prefer to use 5G networks and connected or smart devices at work, and 43% said they want to use both artificial intelligence (AI) tools and wearable technology on the job. However, burnout is already affecting Gen Zers, and more than one-third of those who reported burnout cited a high-pressure workplace as the cause.
- “As employers, we have an opportunity to be open-minded and overcome the stereotypes associated with Gen Zs in the workplace,” said Pat Wadors, ServiceNow’s chief talent officer, in a media release. “We should listen, learn, and help create an environment and culture that not only equips Gen Zs to improve and grow, but also enables their managers to adapt to their needs.”
Members of the newest generation of workers have shown in research that many embrace technological proficiency, but not at the expense of human connection and interaction. A recent study by talent acquisition software firm Yello found more than half of Gen Zers also prefer face-to-face over digital communication in the recruiting process.
Employers that understand Generation Z’s expectations have a better chance of engaging with the group, research shows. For example, Gen Zers tend to look to their bosses for coaching, according to a March survey by InsideOut Development, and they also have expectations about salaries, promotions and diversity that employers might take into account.
Critical to the employee benefits conversation, members of this cohort typically hold high amounts of student debt. Many bring that debt with them into the workplace, so employers may want to consider offering benefits that reduce or help to finance student debt loads, as financial concerns contribute to stress and burnout.
Speaking of which, Generation Z is attuned to mental health issues, as ServiceNow found. A survey by Girls With Impact, a nonprofit education organization, found that while 65% of Gen Zs said they want to make a difference for a cause they believe in and 60% wanted to create something innovative, many worry about their mental health. The remedies for addressing their behavioral concerns may not be so different from those offered to others, such as wellness programs, help from employee assistance programs (EAPs) and flexible work schedules.