Members of Generation Z, some of the youngest members of the workforce, say they’re struggling with managers who don’t always understand them.

Overseas, it’s a thing, with expectations in workplaces not necessarily aligned to a more casual manner as well as a casual attitude to dress and language.

Fischer worked in marketing and, at one point, found one of his flippant emails made its way to the human resources department.

He’s had some issues arising from his generation Z speak in the office.

“I was complimenting someone’s outfit, and I was like, ‘yo, that ate’ and [they had] no clue.”

For the record “ate” means someone has pulled something off very well.

Sarah worked in an advisory role, and said she’d had trouble with the word slay.

“Slay has been a big one where we’ve used it and that’s caused a lot of confusion, because it’s been perceived as a negative. Like you’re slaying as in killing, but we’re using slay as in great job, well done, slay the day.”

Those born between 1997 and 2012 will soon make up a third of our workforce and they want to do things differently – flexibility, work-life balance, a sense of purpose.

It even started spreading around the office.

“I got bored of saying ‘I’m good thanks’, so I started saying ‘yeah, I’m sliving’, as in I’m slaying and I’m living,” Sarah said

“That caused a lot of confusion and then the rest of the Gen Zers and the team also picked up sliving, and then it morphed into slive, slaugh, slove and using that instead of the normal live, laugh, love.”

Generation Z covered anyone born between 1996 and 2012.

Some of the oldest members of the cohort could be 28 and already through several full-time career roles, and the youngest has not even finished high school.

For some workplaces, generation Z’s language, which can be a bit informal and contain unfamiliar words, can be a bit much.

HR expert Jared Haar said it could pay to embrace it, though.

“A lot of it’s just them bringing their personality to work. We’ve kind of got to be careful we don’t try to squish all the very things that we want, like fresh thinking in organisations. That’s exactly what they’ll bring in.”

According to one study, 12 to 24-year-olds feel innovative, but lack the skills to put it into action.

He said a few decades in the workforce may be long enough for people to forget that they were young once.

“Twenty years later, we look at the same age group and seem to kind of go, ‘gee whiz, I was way better than you are than when I was at your age’. But the reality is no, you probably weren’t.

“You were probably exactly the same, bringing along whatever language and lingo was common and fresh for your age group.”

In Auckland, fine dining restaurant Sid At The French Cafe may be the last place someone would expect to hear informal language, but restaurant manager Alex Schepetkin said that’s not the case.

“Clientele coming in through, they’re themselves in their early 30s, maybe mid 30s, if one of my staff drops slay on them then it’s fine”.

He said society changes and so does language and diners’ expectations.

“The atmosphere of modern-day society changes. People who are young coming and through, who are working nowadays and in their 30s, that approach of coming to the restaurant and having very square, very unemotional service — it’s not cool anymore.”

For Sarah, she saw some of her lingo spreading in the office, but when it came back to her from a client, she was surprised.

“I would be very hesitant to incorporate any of this language with clients, and I do a lot of client facing work. Hearing it in a professional setting coming back to me from a client felt very odd.”

Haar said Generation Z will be around in the workforce for years to come and it may be a case of if you can’t beat them, join them.

After all, you wouldn’t want to be cheugy.

By Katie Fitzgerald of