23. May 2024

Why is everyone talking about… yapping?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 3

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week we’re talking about how Gen Z workers love ‘yapping’, why it’s a good thing for your workplace and what it might mean for your HR team and employees.

What you need to know

Ever feel that long, drawn out conversations from younger colleagues might be a symptom of poor workplace etiquette? Actually, it’s more of an after-effect of social isolation from the Covid-19 pandemic. And it’s something that is actually good for all of us, says Fortune. ‘Yapping’ refers to the trend of Gen Z employees talking excessively at work.

These younger workers see ‘yapping’ as a way to connect with colleagues and build relationships. Experts believe it can increase collaboration, innovation and wellbeing. One study from the Academy of Management Journal found that office chatting positively impacts employee wellbeing and improves the emotional aspects of employees’ working lives. It can also provide brief periods of mental rest during long stretches of concentration.

What others are saying about it 

“Connecting with your colleagues grows companies into communities”, says Julie Holmes, an AI, tech and innovation expert. But we may need to rework how we think about it: “Small talk doesn’t ‘take up time’, it uses the time to create new friendships. Studies have shown that even the perceived possibility of a friendship at work has a direct correlation between job satisfaction and involvement.” 

And once a work friendship is in place, it even leads to better results on the projects they take on together: “When friends work together they are routinely shown to be more committed and have higher levels of cooperation that result in superior performance.”

What that means for you

From an HR perspective, there are two sides to this: Firstly, you may want to normalise the idea among cohorts of older workers (for example, your leaders) that small talk amongst employees is very valuable. Secondly, to maximise this value, you should do what you can to enable ‘moments of connection’ for employees. Try the following:

  • Plan social activities: While endless chatting can be distracting, you can create opportunities for socialising in a planned way. This could be casual coffee chats, team lunches or after-work themed seasonal events.

  • Create mentorship programmes: Pair your younger employees with more experienced ones or connect people in different departments. This allows both younger and older employees to gain fresh perspectives.

  • Foster internal communication: Create online channels in your messaging apps for employees to connect on shared interests (such as pet owners or sports fans) to inspire daily moments of connection.

  • Encourage flexibility: Recognise that office communication styles are evolving. Be open to Gen Z's desire for more personal connection at work, but also establish guidelines to avoid impacting productivity.

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

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Hannah Popham

Hannah Popham

Hannah is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Personio. She loves writing about the ever-changing ways that we work and how they intersect with our lives outside work.

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