We’re talking about Gen Z. Known for passionate activism, loving middle parts and vaguely remembering VHS, my generation is entering the workforce with fire and style. Here are some tips to evolve your internal communications to support this generation.
The first, and maybe most important aspect of Gen Z, is that this generation is more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations, with 48% of the generation as non-white. What does this mean for companies? First, it means diversity, equity and inclusion is more important than ever within company cultures. It cannot be something that you use to “check a box.” It must be the foundation of your communications. Your monthly heritage celebrations and employee resource groups should be first, not filler, on your editorial calendar. Make it a priority to elevate diverse voices and work with human resources to ensure company policies acknowledge and even celebrate the diversity of your team.
Gen Z isn’t just the most racially diverse generation yet, they are also projected to be the most educated generation. This means that members of Gen Z are more likely to have higher levels of social trust, greater political interest and lower political cynicism. They demonstrate their greater political interest by participating in activism and actively advocating for progressive social change.
It’s common for companies to share their advocacy externally with marketing campaigns and PR initiatives. However, this is not always reflected in internal communications. To attract and retain Gen Z talent, advocacy needs to be internalized and integrated into the company culture. Use your internal communications to shine a light on company volunteer opportunities and civic engagement. You can also use your intranet to provide resources for employees to learn about the issues that matter most to your company.
This next aspect of Gen Z may surprise you. Yes, we’re digital natives. We know and love technology.
But! More than 90% of Gen Z prefer to have a human element to their teams in the workplace. Emails, intranets, webinars - it’s just not going to be enough in the long-term. As we’re uncovering the new way of work post-COVID (sort of?), we need to maintain our in-person touchpoints. Spin that in-person town hall meeting back up (safely!), guide your leaders to open lines of communication around mental health and employee well-being and perhaps sponsor an in-person happy hour...or two.
Gen Z employees certainly aren’t as scary as "Poltergeist", but acknowledging and embracing my generation’s differences in your internal communications will improve employee engagement...and avoid trips to the beyond to save your culture.