Millennials and gen Z want collaboration – but face to face communication too


Is the enterprise technological revolution all it’s cracked up to be? According to new research from Randstad US and Future Workplace, the most recent generation of employees – generation Z and millennials – prefer in-person communication with their co-workers and managers instead of email and phone.

This one-sentence summary doesn’t quite tell the whole story, however. Of the research, which polled more than 4,000 global respondents, the young workforce wants a plethora of technological change, ranging from social media (41%) to wearables (27%) and virtual reality (26%). Yet by the same token, they admit social is the biggest distraction to getting work done, cited by 46% of respondents compared to text messaging (39%) and email (31%).

This is an interesting facet of the research; while the channels of communication are more convenient, and indeed may be favoured as a way of getting work done, the temptation to sit idly and check Facebook for 10 minutes remains.

Yet perhaps this flexibility is more of a boon than previously realised. The research also found that flexible working has become more important to millennials and generation Z than healthcare plans. Despite this, only a third (34%) of companies polled offer it.

However, another pillar of the traditional workplace may be crumbling. The dreaded annual performance review gets closer to becoming a thing of the past, with employees more likely to receive feedback weekly (24%) or daily (19%). 23% of respondents affirmed they got feedback ‘regularly’, while only 3% say they get a once-a-year review.

The overall theme of the research, despite the various changes taking place, is that while in-person communication is important, the need for collaboration is greater. 54% of generation Z respondents said the key attribute for their best performance is the people they work with.

“One of the most pervasive themes from this year’s global study is Gen Z’s propensity and desire for collaboration,” said Jim Link, Randstad North America chief human resources officer. “Companies seeking to be an employer of choice must leverage the collaborative revolution taking place and provide the technology, tools and processes that facilitate and encourage it.”

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