First published on LinkedIn.
Having friends at work is incredibly important for various reasons. Not only does it contribute to a more positive and enjoyable work environment, but it also enhances productivity, collaboration, and overall job satisfaction. Statistics from pre-pandemic times indicate that a significant number of employees considered their coworkers to be friends. According to a 2019 Gallup study, around 60% of Americans reported having a close friend at work. These friendships helped combat feelings of loneliness, promoted a sense of belonging, and provided a support network within the workplace.
Unfortunately, the pandemic and the subsequent shift to remote work have disrupted these social connections. A 2023 SHRM study revealed that over 40% of remote workers felt isolated, and around 33% reported a lack of camaraderie with their colleagues. However, even in the face of these challenges, maintaining and fostering friendships with coworkers remains crucial.
In particular, how can we foster friendships with Gen Z at work, especially considering their tech-savvy nature, and what challenges might arise as we approach the entry of Gen Alpha (born between 2010 - 2014) into the workforce by 2025?
Building friendships with Gen Z, who we know as digital natives, requires leaning in to their technological preferences and understanding their unique perspectives. Here are some approaches to consider:
Embrace Technology: Gen Z has grown up in a highly connected world, so being open to using digital platforms and tools for communication and collaboration is essential. This might involve leveraging instant messaging, video conferencing, or project management apps that align with their preferences.
Learn From Them: Gen Z possesses valuable knowledge and skills in technology and digital trends. Engaging with them to understand their interests and expertise can foster mutual learning and create opportunities for mentorship or reverse mentorship.
Encourage Multigenerational Collaboration: Facilitating interactions between different generations can bridge the gap and promote understanding. Encourage teamwork, cross-functional projects, or knowledge-sharing sessions that bring together employees from diverse age groups.
Foster A Culture Of Inclusivity: Recognize and appreciate the diverse perspectives and experiences that each generation brings to the workplace. Encourage mutual respect and understanding to bridge any generational gaps that might exist.
As Gen Alpha enters the workforce, it will be important to adapt to their unique characteristics as well. Born into an even more tech-immersed world, Gen Alpha will likely have distinct preferences and expectations. Employers should be prepared to embrace emerging technologies, offer flexible work arrangements, and create an inclusive work environment that accommodates the evolving needs of diverse and tech-savvy generations.
For Baby Boomers and Gen X organizational leaders, the points mentioned above can indeed change how you perceive Gen Z in the workplace. By actively implementing these strategies, you can bridge the generational gaps and establish meaningful connections with the incoming workforce. Embracing technology, showing genuine interest, and fostering an inclusive workplace culture will contribute to building strong relationships and promoting collaboration across generations.
Social Wellness Month - During Social Wellness Month in July, break out of your fixed routine and vow to meet new people. This is because social wellness is all about your capability to bond with others and build satisfying relationships. Social relationships have a lasting impact on physical, mental, and emotional health.
Independence Day, July 4 - A U.S. federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
World Population Day, July 11 - An observance established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program. The annual event is designed to raise awareness of global population issues.
International Nonbinary People's Day, July 14 - Aimed at raising awareness and organizing around the issues faced by nonbinary people around the world while celebrating their contributions.
Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18 - It is a celebration of Mandela’s life and legacy; it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and to change the world for the better.
National Disability Independence Day, July 26 - Celebrating the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act/ADA.
International Day of Friendship, July 30 - Proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities
I am honored to announce that I have been nominated for the 2023 Women's Leadership Awards by LA Business Journal. My contributions as an LA industry leader demonstrate my long-standing commitment to positive impact and promoting inclusive practices in the workplace.
Until next month... Be well and stay safe & healthy!