Generation Z (ages 18-21) prefers to collaborate via chatting and text applications. This is according to a recent Microsoft survey of 14,000 male and female business professionals. Seeing as how these young professionals will soon be entering the workforce en masse, business leaders should take note, particularly with how the up-and-coming generation likes to collaborate with their peers.
How Do Various Generations Prefer to Communicate?
Microsoft’s survey encompassed four separate generations, gathering opinions on nine different collaboration tools. Here’s a break down of some of the key findings:
- In-person meetings are by far the most popular form of collaboration.
- As a whole, text messaging ranks as the least popular mode of communication.
- Regardless of generation, 61% of respondents want short, concise communication.
- Only 38% of Baby Boomers (the oldest generation surveyed) feel stressed when presented with new communication technologies.
- Just 11% of Gen Zers feel technology can improve their work-life balance.
- Across all generations, men prefer more competitive work environments than women.
How Should Business Leaders Respond?
The easiest answer is by seeking a deeper understanding of today’s multi-generational workforce. A common stereotype about younger professionals is that they welcome (and are more adept with) new technologies. But Microsoft’s study dispels that myth — Gen Zers, the youngest generation surveyed, are the least comfortable when they encounter new communication tools. Generation Z also felt the least optimistic that technology could improve their work-life balance. Another surprising nugget of information gathered by the study: Less than half of remote workers value video conferencing as a mode of collaboration. Insights like these are not only critical to understanding your employees, but they could also save you from making a costly square-peg-round-hole technology investment.
Bottom line — every workplace is different, and no two employees are the same. The best thing you can do as a business leader is understand your people as well as what technologies they need to be successful.
Flexibility May Prove Key
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to accommodate every generation’s collaboration preferences. Fortunately, advents like cloud phones and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) give you the ability to leverage broader, more flexible communication suites at a reasonable cost. The explosion of the UCaaS market isn’t happening by accident. Bundled solutions like these essentially give your people a grab bag of tools (voice, video, chat, text, etc.) to use as they see fit without forcing them into specific solutions they won’t use and without forcing you to pay for each solution individually.
A multi-generational workforce also underscores the importance of “future-proofing” your collaboration infrastructure for your workforce. It’s already been revealed that the world’s youngest employees struggle when presented with new technologies and not all remote employees crave video conferencing. Instead of reaching to meet the demands of every workforce generation over time, your best bet might be investing in flexible, scalable solutions that can grow with your employees’ needs.
The collision of different workforce generations with varying available technologies is powerful, and it deserves the attention of business leaders everywhere. That’s why, at Select Communications, we’re committed to providing you with as much information and perspective as possible to guide your decisions and maximize your investments.
Here are a few more articles to help you decide which technologies will work best for your company: