WSJ: Gen Z workers need lessons in email, phone etiquette

Andrea Park - Print  | 

Even as younger generations conduct the majority of their communication via informal texts and social media messages, email remains by far the No. 1 medium for workplace communication, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Because of this disparity, employers and schools are reportedly finding it necessary to teach members of Generation Z — millions of whom are currently flooding into the workforce — the proper protocol for drafting emails and answering work phones.

"You can graduate high school without hardly ever having made a call. You can do everything online — book reservations, book an Uber. Teens aren't hearing their parents make calls either," Melissa Griffin, a human resources professional, told WSJ in explaining why many large companies are now offering young employees training in basic communications.

Though older workers may be baffled at this gap in their younger counterparts' workplace know-how, etiquette experts frame the shifting state of interpersonal communication in a different light.

"I wouldn't say manners around communication are in a state of decline, but they change the most rapidly. New manners emerge as old manners fall out of function. … When the phone was first introduced, people thought it was the end of civilization and that no family would ever dine together again, but society didn't collapse," Daniel Post Senning, great-great-grandson of manners expert Emily Post and an author and spokesman for The Emily Post Institute, told WSJ.

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