Communicating with Generation Connected

The arrival in the workplace of people in their early twenties who have never known a world without the internet and mobile devices – Generation C (for connected), is already seeing profound changes in the way employee communications are conducted and managed (see article 124 onwards on social media). And now we are about to see Generation Z – a group fresh out of school or university – enter the workplace.

Used to being continuously connected to large networks, both social and work, these groups are equally used to speedy, short bursts of news and greater corporate openness than previous generations: traditional top-down direct communication is unpopular with this more collaborative generation, although they still see the value of face-to-face internal communications.

As the first generation of digitally networked employees (as well as customers) Generation C’s arrival in the workplace will probably mean the lines between internal and external communications become even more blurred, although an evolution of existing practices seems more likely than a revolution in communications.

An inviting, flexible and modern company culture will win the hearts of the Generation Z cohort, likely to compare their corporate environment to the famously accommodating start-up cultures embodied by Google and Facebook, and prompting employers to re- evaluate corporate culture and adjust workplace practices to accommodate multiple generations.

Engaging Generation Z

Randstad has identified some of the top engagement boosters for this new workforce:

• workplace flexibility, paidtime-off

• midsize to smaller organisations

• having both genders represented in the workplace

• entrepreneurial environments(they may someday want to start their own business or be the boss)  

• company-provided wellness programmes

• colleagues who represent diverse expertise, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds

• having a mentor

• receiving input and feedback

• personalising their workspace

• wearing headphones and listening to music while working

• working hands-on with meaningful projects

• communicating in person with bosses/colleagues

• having honest leaders

• being listened to and having ideas valued

• collaborating with hard-working colleagues and teammembers.