The “Selfie Generation” Actually Prefers Face-to-Face Communication at Work
Forward-thinking Organizations Should Understand the Needs of the Newest Generation of Employees
SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Self-absorbed, entitled, and attached to their mobile phones. These are some of the common perceptions of Gen Zs, the generation of people born between 1997 and 2012 that is now entering the workforce. But, according to recent research conducted by ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), the company that makes work, work better for people, Gen Zs are defying some of these stereotypes in the workplace. ServiceNow findings bust several of these myths and show that Gen Zs recognize the promise of technology to improve work experiences, prefer face-to-face interactions with managers, and are not only eager to learn from other generations, but also believe they can help older generations be more open-minded.
“Gen Zs represent the future of work. As companies drive digital transformation, which impacts work environments and experiences for all employees, it’s critical to understand, rather than stereotype, our newest generation of workers,” said Pat Wadors, ServiceNow’s Chief Talent Officer.
“While Gen Zs bring digital fluency to the workplace, they crave more than digital work experiences. They expect technology at work to be as simple and easy as it is in their personal lives and at the same time want human interaction with their colleagues and constructive feedback from management. ServiceNow helps companies meet their employees’ expectations by delivering beautiful employee experiences and facilitating quality moments that matter. This frees employees to spend more time on meaningful work, while unlocking their productivity and potential,” Wadors continued.
Betting on Technology to Improve Work
Today, technology is blurring the lines of work and home life like never before. With easy access to apps and communications technology, employees can be accessible 24/7. For Gen Z workers, who grew up with smartphones in hand, technology is second nature. Bryanna Fuller, a Gen Z employee working in ServiceNow’s Finance department, says “Communicating through text, email and social media has been second nature to me since I grew up with the technology. That said, I appreciate the importance of face-to-face communication, as well. I believe our generation is now at a tipping point where we crave as much human connection as we do technological connection.”
With one-third of our lives spent at work, Gen Zs are eager for technology to help simplify their work lives and recognize that technology can play a more significant role in the workplace. Done right, technology can be the catalyst that enables employees to easily navigate the “moments that matter” throughout their career. In fact, according to the new research, “Gen Zs and the Future of Work,” ServiceNow found that:
- 69% of Gen Z workers believe work life should be as easy as home life.
- 54% of Gen Zs want to use 5G networks at work.
- 53% of Gen Zs want to use connected/smart devices in the workplace.
- 43% of Gen Zs want to use both wearable technology and AI tools on the job.
Let’s Meet at the Water Cooler!
While Gen Zs believe in the promise of technology to simplify their lives at work, they also value in-person interactions in the workplace. The majority (83%) prefer to engage with managers in-person. Yet, according to our research of ServiceNow managers of Gen Z workers, the majority of managers (82%) believe their Gen Z employees prefer to communicate via instant message, indicating a significant disconnect among the two groups.
Further, the majority (57%) of Gen Zs want to receive feedback several times a week, but only 50% of their managers provide feedback to them that frequently. Also, 59% of Gen Zs prefer to receive recognition in the form of a bonus, and 51% of Gen Zs prefer to receive recognition in a face-to-face discussion with managers, rather than verbal praise, or recognition in a team meeting.
These interactions are a two-way street though. Over half (58%) of Gen Zs believe that other generations can learn how to be more open minded, and 53% believe that they can help other generations how to creatively solve problems.
Work-Life Balance – The Utopia?
Like the generations before them, Gen Zs find it challenging to achieve work-life balance. 43% of respondents said that they dread the stress that comes along with a new job. This youngest generation of workers already experiences burnout; of those who reported experiencing burnout, over one-third (34%) of survey respondents attributed it to a high-pressure work environment. In fact, almost four in 10 Gen Zs want to learn work/life balance skills from other generations.
As Gen Zs increasingly join the workforce, companies should be prepared not only to create a workplace culture that suits their needs, but also utilizes technology to help simplify their work lives. According to Wadors, “As employers, we have an opportunity to be open-minded and overcome the stereotypes associated with Gen Zs in the workplace. We should listen, learn, and help create an environment and culture that not only equips Gen Zs to improve and grow, but also enables their managers to adapt to their needs.”
For more findings from the research, check out ServiceNow’s “Gen Zs and the Future of Work.”
Gen Zs and the Future of Work Research Methodology
ServiceNow’s research, “Gen Zs and the Future of Work,” examines the future of work through the eyes of Gen Zs workers. It was conducted in July and August 2019 via a 10-minute online survey. A total of 424 Gen Zs between the ages of 18-22 responded to the survey. These respondents work at companies with 1,000 or more employees, including ServiceNow, and they regularly use a computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet on the job. In addition to this, a separate survey was conducted with 73 ServiceNow Gen Z managers that responded in August 2019.
ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) is making the world of work, work better for people. Our cloud-based platform and solutions deliver digital experiences that create great experiences and unlock productivity for employees and the enterprise. For more information, visit: www.servicenow.com.
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