Gen Z now makes up nearly a third of the global population. Composed of those born between 1997 and 2015, Gen Zers are often termed “digital natives” and are considered to be the most diverse generation. They are also marked by their desire to make a difference in the world and live and work according to their beliefs.
According to a study by Cognizant, Gen Z workers value “transparency, inclusivity, and feedback” in the workplace and want their company’s values to align with their own. As leaders, we need to learn about Gen Z and recognize their potential – but it’s just as important that we take steps to effectively communicate with this emerging generation.
Here are five ways to effectively communicate with Gen Z.
1. Prioritize face-to-face communication. Despite being extremely tech-savvy, 75% of Gen Zers prefer to hear feedback from their managers in person, according to the Workforce Institute.
Take time to talk with your Gen Z employees in person. Meet up with them after meetings, schedule coffee outings or stop by their desk throughout the week. Making a point to communicate face-to-face will show your Gen Z employees that you care and help them feel more connected.
2. Be intentional. A study by Cognizant showed that 93% of Generation Z valued feeling like they belong at work. To feel like they fit in, Gen Z shared they needed to feel welcome, included, valued and connected in their workplace.
It’s important they feel like they’re a part of the team. Be sure to include Gen Z employees in team outings, meetings and conversations. Regularly reach out by asking how they are doing personally or how you can help support them. By being intentional, you’ll help your Gen Z employees feel valued.
3. Tell them how they’re doing. Business Solver found that 76% of surveyed Gen Zers believed learning was important to their career and referred to Gen Z as “lifelong learners” who value improving themselves. As a generation that values self-improvement alongside honesty and openness, Gen Zers need to hear from you.
Don’t be afraid to regularly check-in with your Gen Z employees. Talk with them about their performance and give constructive, practical feedback. Remember to acknowledge their hard work and tell them what they are doing well. By having open conversations and offering regular encouragement, you’ll help your Gen Z team members trust you and feel seen.
4. Ask for their feedback. A survey by Servicenow found that 53% of Gen Zers want to help other generations creatively solve problems and be more open minded. Just as Gen Zers value honesty in others and want to learn, they want to be open with you and help where they can.
Create spaces where they can share their feedback. Ask Gen Zers their thoughts during meetings, ask for their input on projects and how you can improve as a leader. Then genuinely listen to their input and concerns and take practical steps to improve. Showing Gen Zers you care about their opinions will help them feel valued and part of the team.
5. Be consistent. A study by Deloitte showed that 77% of Gen Zers believe it is important that they work for “organizations whose values align with their own.” TalentLMS found that 77% of Gen Zers want to work for an employer who “cares about diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Gen Zers want to work for someone who is just as passionate about their values as they are. Just as they value honesty and openness, they will look to you as their leader to live out the principles you preach. In order to communicate effectively, you’ll need to be consistent in upholding your values, doing what you say and treating others with the respect you ask for. Showing you mean what you say will help your Gen Z employees know they can trust you and feel their values are being upheld.
Despite their competency with technology, Gen Z values authentic, face-to-face communication and wants you to do the same. Practice being intentional and take steps to show them you really care about their well-being and their values. By communicating clearly and consistently, you can encourage and lead your team of Gen Zers effectively.