Gen Zs working in the office | Socium Consultancy | Socium Thoughts

The Lowkey Guide to Gen Z’s Business Speak

Summary. From throwing out old corporate jargons to introducing a unique vocabulary, witness how Gen Zs are reshaping office culture.

Low-hanging fruit. Bandwidth. Ping me. Circle back.

Sound familiar? These corporate jargons have become so ingrained in the workplace that they often slip into our conversations without us even realising. Yet, just as we start to believe that we have mastered the art of corporate speak, a breath of fresh air arrives.

With the rise of Generation Z (Gen Zs) in the workforce, a new wave of energy and innovation is sweeping through offices, throwing out the tired old corporate jargons. Gone are the days of “Happy Fridays” and “TGIF.” These digital natives are not just revolutionising workplace culture, but also introducing a unique Gen Z vocabulary that has left some of their older colleagues struggling to keep up. As corporate peers attempt to comprehend their Gen Z workmates, there seems to be a growing risk of miscommunication where essential nuances are easily lost in translation.

To avoid getting lost in translation, here are 10 of Gen Z’s favourite buzzwords (with explanations).

1. Basic

To describe something or someone that is unoriginal.

“That design idea is so basic though.”

2. Bet

To respond to an assigned task or accepting a challenge. Or simply a replacement of saying “yes” or “ok”.

“There’s no way you can get our TikTok to pass 1 million followers.” “Bet.”

3. Hits different

To describe something that is received in a unique way or feels different from how it was before. 

My morning coffee hits different today knowing that I have no more meetings this week!

4. Ick

Used loosely to express a feeling of shock or dislike. 

“This misalignment between the header and body text is giving me the ick.”

5. It's giving

To make a comparison between two subjects or just simply describing the overall vibe of something or someone. If used alone, it carries a positive connotation, usually as a compliment. 

“Her fit is giving.”

6. It's the ____ for me

To point out something that stands out. It can be either an insult or a compliment. 

It’s the use of Comic Sans for me.

7. Slaps

To refer to something as amazing. 

“The brunch we had earlier at the new cafe slaps!”

8. Slay

To describe something impressive or a job well done. 

“She totally slayed at that pitch presentation earlier.”

9. Vibe

A generic sentiment of the atmosphere or feeling for the subject that is being referred to that someone has about something. 

“Loved the vibe of our new office!”

10. W or L

W: the shorthand for “win”, referring to something good; L: the shorthand for “lose”, is for something bad.

“He spilled coffee on her bag earlier.” “L.”

“He just clutched a new client!” “W.”

The World Economic Forum has projected a 25 per cent increase in Gen Z workers in the market by 2025. Taking into account the diverse communication styles among different age groups, this digitally connected and tech-savvy generation has played a vital role in reshaping the traditional corporate landscape, especially in the communications field. Their usage of informal slang and emojis merely marks the beginning of a shift in the ways they work and collaborate with one another, while disrupting the ‘old’ ways of communications

 

Gen Z seamlessly integrates informal and authentic communication styles into the workplace, emphasising transparency and authenticity over conforming to conventional corporate norms. Additionally, they often lean on visual elements, incorporating images and videos to convey ideas effectively. While this innovative approach reflects their creativity, it may not always align with the expectations of professional settings.

New style of work email signoff by Gen Z in marketing agencies | TikTok | Socium Consultancy
Image source: TikTok/@ninetyeightla

Earlier this year, a trend took the Internet by storm, highlighting the evolving landscape of workplace communication. A video showcasing innovative and informal sign-offs in corporate emails started trending on TikTok, capturing the attention of users worldwide. 

This video, originating from NinetyEight, a Gen Z-led marketing company, demonstrated how young employees are redefining traditional email etiquette. Sign-offs like “Seeyas later,” “That’s all,” “hehe bye,” and “Ok then” became the norm, signalling a departure from the conventional formalities. This unconventional approach resonated deeply with online youths, successfully garnering more than 7.8 million views and 1.5 million likes, to date.

Not only that. Gen Zs also prefer to directly communicate with their managers and senior leaders, bypassing traditional hierarchical channels. This can pose a disruption to the traditional corporate power structure. While it encourages open dialogue, this shift challenges organisational hierarchy and established protocols, necessitating a delicate balance between fostering open communication and maintaining a structured professional environment. As workplaces continue to evolve, embracing these changes and finding collaborative solutions will be essential in bridging the communication gap and fostering a harmonious and productive work environment for all generations.

As we navigate this intersection of traditional and contemporary corporate communication styles, one cannot help but wonder about the future of professionalism in the workplace. With Gen Zs favouring informal and authentic communication, these questions arise: How will established standards of professionalism adapt to these new approaches? Will this evolution redefine our understanding of workplace decorum and create a new paradigm for effective communication? Perhaps when the next generation rises, a new set of questions will arise, and we will have to reexamine our rule book on communications yet again.

Picture of Charmaine Soh

Charmaine Soh

Charmaine is an undergraduate studying Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. With a deep passion for all things social, she is always at the forefront of the latest social media trends. Connect with Charmaine on LinkedIn here.

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