Still relying on emails for internal communication? Your young employees may feel like they’re working for a dinosaur.
While emails still have their place in the office – often for more formal exchanges of information – companies need to modernise their modes of team communication to engage Gen Zs.
Just look at how these digital natives communicate daily on social media, and you’ll find clues to how they like to interact with others today: frequent engagement and real-time feedback.
1. Jump on an instant messaging platform
Inboxes jammed with unnecessary emails are a huge drain of time and resources for anyone. Instead of back and forth email chains, you can exchange short messages in seconds with instant messaging (IM) – Gen Zs are used to this instant, constant, informal kind of contact.
IM isn’t entirely new (flashback: ICQ and MSN) but it made an innovative comeback in the 2010s. Some of the biggest players are Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat and Discord, and you’ll have to find which one best fits your team’s workflow and conversations.
2. Create different conversation streams
The best IM platforms can organise chats, often divided into ‘channels’ like ‘groups’ then broken down further into ‘threads’ or something similar. Ever had three topics overlapping while texting? Yup, that’s why.
To engage Gen Zs, you could tag them to pull them into conversations, create small groups so they’re more comfortable to voice their thoughts, set up anonymous Ask Me Anything channels, or create group polls.
3. Use emojis, GIFs, memes and stickers
Because sometimes, words just don’t cut it. The oh-so rich, visual language of emojis is just a couple of clicks yet holds loads of emotional depth. They could be an add-on to a sentence or a quick reaction, making work feel a little more relaxed and fun. For example, depending on your company culture, an acceptable reaction could be a simple thumbs-up for “gotcha” or “sounds good” that would avoid all those tedious “I acknowledge” emails.
4. Allow for seamless collaboration
Young people can’t tolerate ineffective software. Think about nifty features your team needs – is it high-quality group video and audio calls in one click? For remote teams, is it screen sharing? If you’re constantly sharing files, a drag-and-drop function and links with previews could be beneficial. Or you might want your IM platform to integrate with your ecosystem of stored files like Google’s apps or Microsoft Office.
5. Set up spaces for casual chats
Don’t make work feel like a drag. When appropriate, be social and add some humour! To avoid work distractions, you can create separate group channels for prime banter, puppy pics and debates on the best pizzas in town. And definitely give yourselves fun group names. Here’s a start… Virtual Water Cooler, Cat Memes Only, Did Someone Say Happy Hour?