Over the last decade, most businesses have invested a lot of time and effort into supporting millennial employees, whether that’s ruminating on their preferred communication style (do they still pick up the phone?) or simply working out what their needs are.
But with many millennials heading into their late thirties, a fresh cohort – Generation Z – are entering the workplace. Which means your business communications strategy needs to start considering a new style of worker.
The dawn of the digital native
Taking 1995 as their first birth year, the oldest Gen Zers have now had a chance to graduate from university and start work. Like their millennial counterparts, they want flexible career opportunities and remote working capabilities. In comparison to older generations, they’re more health conscious, socially tolerant and entrepreneurial. But most importantly, they’re the first generation who can truly be described as digital natives.
While millennials are tech-savvy, many can remember life before smartphones. Your Gen Z employees and customers, on the other hand, have never known a world without them, meaning they expect round-the-clock connectivity. For this reason, your digital communications strategy is key to preparing for the influx of Gen Zers – especially if you’re a smaller organisation that needs to work harder to attract the best talent and loyal customers.
Smartphones as standard
The very term ‘smartphone’ was born, along with Gen Z, in 1995. Up to 96% of Gen Zers are said to own smartphones, so mobile strategies will play an important part in your business communications, and can also support the flexible working strategies that Gen Z are likely to expect.
Although this isn’t just a case of buying staff the latest tech and hoping for the best. Gen Zers who have grown up in the era of 4G expect fast and robust network connectivity, helping them to work quickly and effectively, no matter where they are. This means you need to ensure their devices operate over reliable business-first mobile networks.
Of course, this isn’t just a way of attracting Gen Zers to your business. For SMEs especially, a mobile-first strategy is a great way of helping your organisation stay flexible and agile, connecting to customers around the clock, even when resources are limited.
The multi-device generation
Gen Zers are comfortable working across screens, with 54% regularly using multiple devices – including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and even smart TVs – at any one time. There’s also an expectation that these devices should work seamlessly together. Consider a suite of Apple products: with one account, users can access the same message thread across a phone, tablet, laptop and desktop.
Your communications strategy should try and account for this, because Gen Zers won’t be impressed by technology that only works in isolation. Whether they’re talking to colleagues or communicating with customers, Gen Zers will expect integrated platforms for seamless communication. Fortunately, this is exactly what can be provided through a Unified Communications strategy, which can help you to combine voice, email, instant messaging, video conferencing and data services.
Not only will this suit Gen Z employees who are used to communicating in this way, Gamma’s latest research found it’s the approach increasingly favoured by thriving businesses. So, this won’t only help you prepare for Gen Zers in the workplace – it could even help to drive business growth.
Benefits for Gen Zers and businesses alike
By 2030, it’s estimated Gen Z will represent 75% of the workforce. Given how long digital transformation can take to implement successfully, it’s important to start planning now to make sure your organisation’s communications strategies can support your changing workforce.
But this isn’t just a case of pandering to the needs of the newest generation. The things that Gen Z workers will expect as standard – like flexible and remote working, strong mobile strategies, and a Unified Communications approach – also have tangible benefits for your business as a whole, especially if you’re a smaller organisation trying to compete in a digital economy.
So, while it may seem daunting to have to adapt for a whole new generation of workers, the reality is that doing so won’t just benefit your future employees – it may just improve your business performance in the meantime.
Wondering what other strategies thriving businesses are using to get ahead in the digital world? Take a look at our newest research report, Survive + Thrive: The State of Tech Adoption in UK Business.