How many times have you heard "you're too old to understand" or "this was before your time"?
Thankfully, there are a few simple strategies that can improve theefficiency, clarity, and quality of communicationbetween different generations at work.
Develop Generational Awareness
Be aware of how each generation (tends to) prefer to communicate: this is key to getting your message across!
formal and direct
in-person, phone, or email
value background info
authentic and fast
text, chat, email, or Instagram
value efficiency and digital-first approach
informal and flexible
email, phone, or text
value professional etiquette
transparent and visual
face-to-face, Snapchat, FaceTime
value video and mobile-only approach
Tailor & Mirror Communication
Match the message to the channel.
Emails and chats are great for short announcements or news.
Video chat or in-person meetings are great for brainstorming or for discussing sensitive information.
When replying always try to mirror the communication channel. Replying by email to a DM, for example, breaks the communication flow.
Michael is a Baby Boomer who just joined your team. Which method would likely be the best way to communicate with him?
Encourage Collaboration & Mentoring
Despite the challenges, working with a multigenerational team can be a win-win if team members are open to learning from each other.
Generation Z and Millennials have grown up alongside the technology we use daily. Many have a knack for innovation and "making things work".
Generation X and Baby Boomers started working prior to such technology and may bring strong interpersonal skills that help teams gel.
Which questions might be good to ask when developing a team agreement regarding communication channels?