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Workplace Hot Takes: Check your Gen-Z at the door

5 things Gen-Z employees may not be aware of...

Sarah Xu

October 30, 2023



Within this new age in which social media trends dominate and evolve communication to include emojis, GIFs, and hashtags, the workplace is experiencing a noticeable shift. Enter Generation Z - digital natives who have grown up attached to smartphones, social media, and instant gratification. While our tech-savvy nature and innovative thinking are well-underestimated, there is a growing need for us to 'check our Gen-Z at the door' when it comes to workplace etiquette and professional norms.

We could argue that many workplace cultures are outdated and are in need of a younger touch; however, some in the community seem to be lacking a knowledge of still very prominent workplace manners and professionalism, earning us somewhat of a bad rep. And while we are here to challenge outdated norms and traditions, Gen-Z employees are still in need of some guidance in navigating this environment. Our penchant for digital communication, informal language, and instant solutions can sometimes clash with traditional workplace etiquette, so here are some need-to-know workplace etiquette norms to include in your presence in the office!

1️⃣ Embrace Face-to-Face Interaction:

One hallmark of Gen-Z's communication style is the reliance of digital communication platforms. While these tools are incredibly efficient, they should not overshadow the importance of face-to-face interactions. Whether it's team meetings, presentations, or discussions with colleagues, be sure to make a conscious effort to engage in in-person conversations and activities. Building strong interpersonal relationships and fostering effective communication are essential aspects of workplace success.

2️⃣ Be Aware of Your Language:

The workplace often demands a more formal and polished communication style than what Gen-Z is accustomed to in their personal lives. Avoiding dropping excessive slang, abbreviations, or emojis in professional emails or conversations is crucial. Clear, concise, and well-structured language will not only convey professionalism but also prevent misinterpretations.

3️⃣ Respect Hierarchy and Seniority:

Gen-Z tends to value collaboration and equality, which is admirable. However, it's essential to recognize that workplaces often have hierarchical structures. Acknowledging seniority, respecting authority, and understanding the chain of command are essential for maintaining an organized work environment. While it's perfectly acceptable to share ideas and contribute, it should be done with respect and awareness of the organizational structure.

4️⃣ Adapt to Traditional Norms:

Every workplace has its own set of rules and norms that have evolved over time. While you may bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, it's important to adapt to some of these established norms. This doesn't mean stifling creativity, but rather finding a balance between innovation and tradition.

5️⃣ Patience and Persistence:

Gen-Z is accustomed to rapid results and immediate feedback. In the workplace, processes can often be slower, and feedback may not come as quickly as you're used to. It's crucial for Gen-Z employees to practice patience and resilience, recognizing that career growth and success are a journey that takes time and effort.

The presence of Gen-Z in the workforce is both exciting and challenging, and presents so many opportunities for you to contribute to the business. Your digital fluency and innovative thinking can bring new dimensions to the workplace. However, it's equally important for you as new and young employees to adapt and embrace the core values of workplace etiquette, which have been refined over generations. Gen-Z can successfully integrate their unique talents into the workforce while maintaining the professionalism and etiquette essential for a thriving career. So, remember to "check your Gen-Z at the door" and step into the workplace with respect, adaptability, and a commitment to effective communication.