Taking the pulse of a new generation: IoIC Live 2014 series

Following the recent IoIC Live 2014 conference, we had just too many interesting points to take away from the speakers. So we have made series of blogs, one for each speaker, that will be posted on Storyboard over the next few days.

The third speaker of the day was Jenni Wheller, Head of Internal Communication at SSP UK and Ireland. She shared her research gathered looking the approach of Generation Z into the workplace and found some interesting and surprising results that she shared with the IoIC Live audience.

Taking the pulse of a new generation

Opening with her belief that you can’t really group people, especially from all over the world, into generation groups – a point raised by Nick Andrews in our latest issue of AQ magazine, Spring 2014 (The Circle of Life), Jenni went on to discuss the changes Generation Z has gone through as they have grown up. Text messaging, internet useage, going social are all things that Generation Z takes for granted, knowing no difference.

This may lead you to expect certain results but Jenni’s research surprised many. For example, when asked ‘How do you want information to be given to you?’ 67% of the Generation Z respondents asked said ‘email’, with only 11% saying ‘social’.

Interestingly, when being surveyed 44% opted for face-to-face small groups, with 45% wanting anonymous surveys, showing that although face-to-face can be more tricky to organise we can’t just replace it with social.

When asked what they want to know about, in order of preference they wanted communications about their pay, business performance, learning and development and leading how to make a difference to the success of the business.

Worryingly for some, Jenni found that 78% of all employees surveyed expect to be able to use social media exactly as they do now, will this be the case when Generation Z becomes a greater part of the workplace? Another signal for change is that 80% of respondents believe they should be able to opt in and out of internal channels – a scary thought that will mean new approaches to internal comms will be necessary.

So what changes to comms strategies are SSP looking at making following this research? Well Jenni says she’ll be looking at their channel mix, and in particular use the statistics to put forward a strong case for continued use of face-to-face interactions. Overall, Jenni’s presentation teaches us not to group people based on our presumptions for what they are looking for from comms.

Click here to see the IoIC’s blog – Generation Z revealed.

Our IoIC Live 2014 series

Some of the best bits from Twitter #IoICLive14