Gen Z, older workers learn to speak each other's languages amid increased online communication

Key differences in communication styles exist between older and younger generations. And when it comes to communication in multigenerational workplaces, these differences have the potential to confuse colleagues and create challenges, The Washington Post reported Dec. 12. 

This is particularly true with online communication between older workers and Generation Z, the group that comes after millennials, according to the newspaper. 

Examples of miscommunication provided in The Washington Post story are uses of certain words and phrases.

Mary Clare Wall, a 24-year-old, told the newspaper her older colleagues were initially confused about her use of the word "slay," which among younger people means "good job" or "killing it," while she and her peers interpreted the phrase "out of pocket" to mean their colleague planned to do something crazy or inappropriate, rather than that they would not be available. 

Individuals interviewed by The Washington Post also note that certain uses of punctuation, phrases and emojis can result in miscommunication in multigenerational workplaces. And, according to the newspaper, San Francisco-based start-up Coda even has a channel in the messaging app Slack specifically for helping colleagues understand Gen Z's use of emojis. 

A new report by Oxford Economics for Snap Inc. projects that Gen Z will compose 30 percent of the total workforce for Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the U.S. by 2030. In healthcare, this group has a particular outlook. For example, a survey from the University of Maryland-Baltimore found that 38 percent of Gen Z plans to pursue a career in the industry.  

According to The Washington Post, this means younger workers being prepared for how their messages may be interpreted differently, and older workers are ensuring they are comfortable asking about any confusion they have.

Read the full report here.

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