Chances are likely that your business has spent a lot of time over the last several years trying to figure out what Millennials want and how to communicate with them effectively.
But while you have been doing this, a new generation of young people has been steadily coming of age: Generation Z, also known as the “anti-Millennials” or "Gen Z", comprised of people born between 1996 and 2011. There are at least 60 million young Americans that fall into this category, surpassing millennials by about 1 million in total.
While this generation mirrors Millennials in some ways, they are actually surprisingly different. As explained in Fast Company, Generation Z spent its formative years during the great recession and so people in this demographic tend to have very different attitudes about what they value, and how they behave. They tend to also be very hard working, extra frugal, and focused on getting what they want.
From a communications standpoint, this is also the first generation of people raised entirely on technology. They weren’t around for things like car window cranks and gaming systems without internet connections and palm pilots. This generation is completely technology-driven, which makes them extra savvy. Googling for information, in other words, is now a basic skill that every young person knows about.
This generation is beginning the next phase of their lives: entering college, joining the workforce, and emerging as the next wave of empowered consumers. In other words, they will soon comprise a large portion of your employees and customers, so you need to know how to communicate on their level if you want to engage with them.
Here are five tips for communicating with Generation Z:
Offer Multiple Communications Solutions
It may be time to diversify your communications technologies. According to one study, 50 percent of Millennials prefer using landlines. And yet, only 17 percent of Gen Z likes them. So over the next few years, your communications landscape could become increasingly fragmented. Some employees will want to use landlines, while others will prefer to use mobile devices. The trick is to offer cutting-edge Unified Communications (UC) technologies so that employees can pick what they want to use.
Embrace Video Conferencing
Recent advances in video conferencing have made this technology much more reliable, and accessible to the average organization. As a result, interest will undoubtedly continue to grow in video conferencing over the next several years. In another report, it was revealed that Generation Z finds video conferencing to be the least distracting technology for getting work done. If your business is not currently using video conferencing, it’s time to consider integrating it into your dashboard.
Hold The Wearables
Gen Z may be very tech savvy, but what’s interesting is that they do not appear to be tech-dependent — at least, not as dependent as Millennials. Research shows that Millennials are more likely to use wearables (39 percent), connected appliances (35 percent), and virtual reality (24 percent) than Gen Z or even Gen X. Keep this in mind as you explore cutting-edge technologies. Some solutions may be more trouble than they are worth.
Start Thinking Beyond Email
Some experts believe that email will fall out of fashion much like voicemail did. Gen Z, it should be noted, may be the nail in the coffin for email. Less than 20 percent of Gen Z respondents reported that they are likely to use email for work. Many young people prefer to use collaboration apps that offer real-time communication services. Now, that’s not to say email will go away entirely as it’s still widely used. Again, offer a variety of communications options. Email should be one tool that your team uses to exchange information — not the only option.
Offer Disaster Recovery
Several studies indicate that Generation Z puts a high emphasis on security and stability. So if you want to attract them as customers, and convince them to work at your company, you need to have a fully-functioning network that is also fortified with disaster recovery. Gen Z will have little tolerance for inefficiencies caused by prolonged network outages, so businesses need to do everything possible to offer services that are resilient and of the highest quality.