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Collaboration Jumble or Essential for Gen Z's    [Date Added : 11/09/2017 ]
Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Box, Wrike, Trello, Flowdock, ProofHub, Zoho Workplace - the list of available collaboration tools seems endless, as is the variety of offerings. Microsoft alone has packed its Office 365 suite with several collaboration tools, including Yammer, Outlook Groups, SharePoint Online, and Teams (which will absorb the Skype for Business UC capabilities). Are vendors racing for a win in collaboration, or is this really a dry run before Generation Z arrives at work in full force?

Born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, Gen Z workers are just starting to enter the workforce. By 2020, Gen Z is expected to comprise 25% of the US workforce. Most Gen Zers are extremely tech-oriented, but a technology addiction is not the only thing that makes them special. What requires employers' utmost attention is Gen Zer's expectations about work and collaboration habits.

Here are four critical characteristics that will influence organizational processes - and determine winners among team collaboration solutions. Gen Z:

1. Wants flexibility: Gen Zers want the freedom to move around the workplace for work activities. Their major requirement is being able to work remotely. This puts a heavy load on collaboration tools, as they will have to ensure quality working processes regardless of employee locations.

2. Prefers regular feedback: Gen Zers live in a chat-based reality, receiving instant feedback from peers on their activities. As such, they're inclined to apply the same collaboration pattern to their work.

3. Chooses online knowledge sharing: Studies show that 60% of Gen Zers like to share their knowledge online. Companies will need to include collaboration-driven knowledge management tools if they expect the youngest employees to share their knowledge with the rest of the company.

4. Engages via collaboration: Intensive collaboration and communication impacts Gen Zers' engagement and retention directly.

What Collaboration Tools Do Gen Zers Need?

So what do Gen Zers see as the optimal in collaboration tools? Here are at least three things to consider:

- Mobile-enabled collaboration: Gen Zers are heavily attached to their smartphones, and tend to check them every few seconds. So, if your company does not adopt mobile collaboration tools, get ready to see Gen Zers wave goodbye to you.

- Video conferencing is a must: Gen Zers prefer video conferencing as the least annoying collaboration tool. At the same time, they consider popular collaborative technologies like social networking, text messaging or email as highly distracting.

- Chatbots are welcome: Gen Z uses chatbots heavily because they can be funny, conversational and helpful. A lot of brands already use chatbots to promote their products and services, so it is time for organizations to use them as Gen Z engagement catchers.

("Collaboration Jumble or Dry Run for Gen Z's Arrival?", by Sandra Lupanava, NOJITTER October 19, 2017. Copyright 2017 UBM)
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