Successful workplace communication involves communicating effectively with members of each generational group. You might be interacting with team members, employees, vendors, or customers who are from a different generational group than yourself. To communicate successfully you must be able to adapt to the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers, the Gen X, and the Gen Y.
According to figures reported by RainmakerThinking the 2005 workforce is comprised of the following percentage of workers.
o Traditionalists 7.5%
o Baby Boomers 42%
o Generation X 29.5%
o Generation Y 21%
Members of these various generations exhibit different sets of work styles and work standards, which can make communication difficult. To assist you and your team in communicating effectively here are some guidelines for communicating with individuals in each generational category.
Keep in mind, however, that while these guidelines are helpful and tell us something about these groups of people, not every individual in a particular generational group matches the stereotype perfectly. Keep in mind also that some individuals might fall within a certain category because of their age, but their thoughts and actions suggest that they belong to a different group.
Traditionalists, Born: 1922-1945
In communicating with Traditionalists you should generally …
o Appeal to the greater good
o Appeal to their sense of right / wrong
o Communicate formally
o Communicate face-to-face
o Communicate with computer technology with caution
Baby Boomers, Born: 1946-1964
In communicating with Baby Boomers you should generally …
o Emphasize fairness to all involved
o Use brainstorming techniques
o Communicate using face-to-face method or phone call
o Communicate more verbally than electronically
o Communicate with reference to the financial bottom line, when trying to justify a position
Gen X, Born: 1965-1976
In communicating with Gen X you should generally …
o Stress personal security
o Stress personal goals
o Stress task at hand
o Give advice through a mentor
o Communicate informally
Gen Y, Born: 1977 – 2002
In communicating with Gen Y you should generally …
o Communicate using full range of technology
o Expect constant feedback and reinforcement
o Share information using instant messaging, Internet, DVDs, MP3 players
o Focus on outcomes, not protocol
o Explain exact procedures
Practice these strategies for communicating effectively with each generational group and build bridges to better communication.