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ServiceNow: Enterprises must rethink workplace communication as Generation Z enter workforce

Enterprises may find their tried and tested methods of communication fail to live up to expectations of digitally-savvy Generation Z members, warns ServiceNow

Enterprises need to update the communication and collaboration tools they offer staff to ensure they meet the high digital expectations of young people entering the workforce for the first time.

That is according to executives at service management provider ServiceNow, who used the company’s Knowledge 18 conference in Las Vegas to talk about the technology challenge posed by members of Generation Z – those born after the mid-1990s – entering the workforce.

Members of that demographic have grown up to become reliant on technology and favour modes of communication that could be considered out of step with how most enterprises operate.

“They go to bed with their devices, they wake up with their devices, and they communicate differently to what we [the older generation] do. They’re very dependent on technology,” ServiceNow cofounder, Fred Luddy, told delegates.

“They’re going to be joining the workforce very soon, if they’re not already, and their expectations are very visual and tactical. It’s a whole different planet that these kids live on and I have great hope for this generation, but we’re going to have to rethink.”

ServiceNow chief technology officer, Allan Leinwand, said this younger generation favours flexibility on how they choose to communicate within companies, rather than rely solely on email, and may prefer to use WhatsApp or iMessage, for example.

Another case Leinwand used was that of a young developer. “‘I’m a developer and I love Slack, so I want to do enterprise DevOps collaboration within Slack’,” he said.

“Out in the real world in 2018, we’re using things like Yelp and Uber and all these other great tools that people love, and then we to go the office and we’re back in 1996.”

“People still send email, people still do calendar invites. What people want is experiences that they’re used to outside of work to get their job done better inside of work,” he added.

One example of this is to find conference rooms in an office building. He said people can use map applications outside to locate places, but inside they have to rely on the “archaic” method of asking for help from an admin.

Leinwand said it is not a technology issue stopping these changes, but decision-makers have prioritised other areas such as developing and incorporating artificial intelligence (AI).

“The best talent today expects great digital experiences at work. Top talent can work anywhere, and they are choosing companies that embrace advanced technology to make work simpler, faster [and] better.”

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