California; Hayward — As the workforce welcomes more and more Gen Z employees, a language barrier is emerging between them and their older colleagues, according to a recent study by the visualization platform Rethinkly. The study found that over 40% of Gen Z workers are not familiar with common workplace phrases like "bite the bullet" and "back to the salt mines," while they are more comfortable with language such as "quiet quitting" and "take this offline."
Other phrases that Gen Z workers struggle with include "cut the mustard," "flogging a dead horse," "throw in the towel," "burning the midnight oil," "let sleeping dogs lie" and "what's the beef." The language gap between the younger and older generations has created a challenge for young workers, who often feel lost in conversations with their more experienced colleagues.
Digital designer Laurence Brand, 22, from London, shared his experience with the Sun, saying that he was interviewed by a panel of people in their 50s, who used several phrases he had never heard before. Brand said that he had to "bluff his way through the interview" when asked about someone who didn't "cut the mustard." The experience made him feel lucky to get the job, but he also felt a significant age gap between himself and his next closest colleague.
Andrew Jackson, co-founder of Rethinkly, said that poor communication often leads to various challenges in the workplace. Communication challenges directly impact factors such as morale, commitment, and productivity, and this gap in language can significantly impact teamwork and productivity. According to Jackson, companies need to recognize the language gap and take steps to address it, such as creating a common glossary of frequently used phrases.
The language gap between the younger and older generations also highlights the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Companies that fail to recognize and address such issues risk alienating a significant portion of their workforce and limiting their growth potential. As such, it is crucial for organizations to create a work environment that values and respects all employees, regardless of their age, gender, race or background. By creating a common glossary of frequently used phrases and promoting inclusivity, companies can bridge the gap between the different generations in their workforce and promote a more productive and collaborative work environment.