Communicating to Different Generations in the Workplace

Baby Boomers to Gen Z. These generations and everything in between seem to always have opinions about each other that remain constant year after year. 

In the workplace where generations clash and they are now having to work with each other, new ways are emerging so that we can all try to understand and have seamless experiences when communicating with one another. 

This may come as a surprise to some of you but, despite their connection to social media, 51% of Gen Z prefers to communicate with coworkers, friends, and family face-to-face rather than through messaging

This alone shows how Gen Z is not completely out with the old and in with the new. The younger generation is still prioritizing in person communication over what people believe they would rather prefer and I can assume we can all accept that as a common ground. 

Tip 1: Know the Preference

I used to work in a very diverse environment of workers where I was having volunteers communicate with me from ages 16-25 and my supervisor being 30 odd some years and that might not seem like a crazy gap but when you compare a sophomore in highschool to a sophomore in university, there’s a huge gap in what they want and except when communicating with each other. 

To be in the know of how my volunteers wanted to be spoken to if not together, we had surveys given out so that they could label their preferences of how me and my supervisor could reach them. 

Remember that statistic I stated above? It rang true to a majority of my Gen Z volunteers.

They wanted to be spoken to in person whereas more of my university volunteers rather be phoned or be sent a text message. That could just be because they have busier schedules and much rather prefer answering us on their own time, but the generation wants what the generation wants. 

Tip 2. Mimic What’s Working 

This one is simple to follow. Say a Baby Boomer emails a Gen Z person, the Gen Zer shouldn’t text them back a response or informally reply, they should reply professionally and in an email back.

Don’t forget to sign off with a thank you and your name spelled correctly. Sometimes when I type too fast, I miss a letter in my name and it really affects a person (not really, it’s just annoying).

Tip 3. Be Aware of Each Other (Generational Awareness)

All generations expect different means of communication whether that’s between those of the same generation or from different ones. 

Know what kind are in the workplace such as, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Then figure out how each one would prefer to communicate in general. 

Baby Boomers can be expected to want to use email, call over the phone or talk in person. Generation X would fall into the same category as Baby Boomers, but they are more flexible with how they communicate and its (in)formalities. One thing I will say is that they definitely appreciate professionalism to maintain when communicating. 

Millennials are up to date with the use of social media platforms and everything else that comes with having a smartphone. They are good with texting, emails, and messaging over any platform that they may have. Just as long as they have instant messaging  at hand with those that they are communicating with, it can be easy to reach them. 

Generation Z was born into the digital world and exposed to it at a very young age. They are familiar with any kind of app that uses face to face communication or texting as another way of communicating. With having grown up with so many different generations above them, the flexibility in how they communicate with others is very diverse. 

Your business might not even have a range of generations working for you, maybe it’s millennial based but whether it is or isn’t, knowing your employees and how you can communicate with them and giving them resources in how they could communicate with one another is a key component in keeping company culture alive. 

You want your employees to be happy with where they work, so keeping communication fluid will ensure that with no questions asked (unless they actually are answering questions, then you should kindly answer them).

Thank you for reading today’s post! Let me know how you communicate with your coworkers and employees in the workplace and how it works for you in the comment section below! 

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