Friday 21 June 2024

Najat Abdelhadi

Communication gap at work leaves ‘Gen Z feeling isolated’

DUBAI, 29 days ago

New research from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, reveals a gap between Gen Z and their older colleagues at work, and career echo chambers could be to blame. 
The research also shows however that Gen Z are aware of the value of this missed opportunity, as three quarters  in the UAE and KSA point to better communication as a means to improve workplace productivity, learning opportunities and team morale. 
Often labelled as ‘difficult’ or resistant to authority, surprisingly, 76% of Gen Z respondents said that they are eager to learn from other generations in the workplace. However, just half of them consciously make an effort to speak to other generations. 
Looking foolish
Poised to make up more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2025, Gen Z feels uncomfortable in approaching other generations for assistance and support. Over 1 in 3 say they are worried about looking foolish and 34% avoid interacting with older generations as “they always seem to know more” than they do.
Gen Z are most likely to say that they don’t understand corporate jargon and find it isolating (51%) in stark contrast to other generations. This may be why the majority of them (73%) want companies to do more to encourage and foster intergenerational workforces.
This career echo chamber may be exacerbating the skills gaps and feeding outdated intergenerational perceptions, leaving Gen Z to be at risk of suffering the most.
A particular challenge for Gen Z
Well-documented advocates for work-life balance and financially driven, Gen Z are often criticised for their apparent unrealistic expectations of work. However, the research from LinkedIn suggests that these views are unfounded and stem from a lack of communication among workforce generations.
Similar to other generations, professional development is top of mind for Gen Z as 74% of them in the UAE and KSA put a stable and secure career as their biggest priority in professional life. Asked about the priorities when evaluating a company's culture and values, almost half (46%) say opportunities for growth and learning top the list. 
Young professionals recognise the importance of networking to build their careers, but as a generation who entered the workforce amongst hybrid and remote workplace arrangements, they are missing out on informal observations and vital cues that traditionally guide behaviour, collaboration and networking. 
In fact, more than two-thirds (72%) of all professionals in the UAE and KSA recognise that workers who started their careers during the pandemic need additional support with developing soft skills, such as communication, leadership and empathy.
Resilient workforce
LinkedIn Career Expert, Najat Abdelhadi, says: “The world of work is undergoing change at an unprecedented rate, with the skills needed for the same job expected to change by 65% by 2030. This is the time to build a resilient workforce that is well-connected and generationally diverse. 
“Multigenerational workforces provide access to diverse perspectives, knowledge, and insights that can help young professionals in particular make sense of the world of work and gain confidence. And as our region continues to brim with opportunities for young professionals and career starters, Gen Z are increasingly turning to LinkedIn’s supportive community for guidance and advice.”
Removing barriers
To help young professionals break free from their communication barriers, Abdelhadi has the following tips: 
●Seek opportunities to communicate with other generations: Leave your preconceptions at the door and encourage yourself to engage with other generations in the workplace. Actively listening to colleagues outside of your cohort can help avoid assumptions about different generations and their attitudes to work, build trust and rapport and allow you to learn from each others' experience. There are plenty of free resources available to help, including Communication Foundations from LinkedIn Learning.
●Find a mentor: Consider asking your manager for a mentor from an older generation. A good mentor can further your professional growth by helping you develop specific skills, set career goals, and connect you to people and opportunities. Mentoring can help bridge generational differences in the workplace and help generations who are decades apart better understand each other. More experienced professionals should also consider reverse mentoring to connect with younger generations.
Reverse mentorship
Take a look at Reverse Mentorship Essentials for helpful tips.
●Lean into your online professional network for support: Tap into your LinkedIn community for career know-how and advice on growing your career by building connections and following people you want to learn from. You can also take advantage of LinkedIn’s Collaborative Articles to tap into expert voices and diverse perspectives on a wide range of professional topics and make work, make sense. 
The research comes as part of LinkedIn’s ongoing efforts to show how its supportive community of 1 billion members can help young professionals make sense of the world of work through:
●New ways to make networking easier and smarter. A new ‘Catch Up’ tab focuses on surfacing opportunities for professionals to spark conversations and engagement with their network.
●Free LinkedIn Learning courses such as Teamwork Essentials and Communication Foundations, as well as a complete learning path on soft skills.
●Follow the latest Gen-Z Top Voices, leading the conversation on the future of work on LinkedIn.--TradeArabia News Service


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