Employee Morale: How to Improve Cross-Generational Communication

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How to Improve Cross-Generational Communication in the Workplace

As the oldest members of Generation Z have started entering the workforce, the modern business world has become more generationally diverse than years prior. Let’s improve cross-generational communication!

 

While some business leaders believe that all people are people, there are a few key differences between the generations that affect how individuals work, what they look for in a job and how they interact with others.

via GIPHY

No matter what your personal beliefs are, the truth is that understanding how your multigenerational team members function alongside one another is critical for the future of your business.

To give you some background on the differences between generations and tips on how to foster a productive workplace for intergenerational teams, we’ve compiled a list of important information to be aware of.

 

The generations:

To fully unveil how to work with multiple different generations, we must first understand the differences between these generations.

As the oldest of the current generations in the workforce, baby boomers (born between 1946 – 1964) are keeping their places in the workforce longer than past generations at the same age. In general, boomers are driven by professional accomplishments and thrive off of long work weeks due to their hard work ethic and motivation. Boomers’ communication style is voice-oriented. They prefer to hop on a call with colleagues or clients rather than exchanging emails or texts.

Second, we have Gen Xers (born between 1965 – 1980) who value a strong work ethic and loyalty above all other workplace qualities. This generation’s dedication to accomplishing their own work means that many are therefore less inclined to share their ideas or responsibilities with others.

In terms of communication style, Gen Xers prefer to use email, checking in for an average of five hours per day and splitting time between both personal and professional accounts.

Next, we have millennials (born between 1981-1996) who are focused on finding engaging jobs that emotionally and behaviorally satisfy them. Within these jobs, innovation, flexibility and a focus on their personal passions are important to these employees.

Millennials’ communication trends tie directly back to their immersion in technology from a young age. This generation has mastered the art of using emojis, GIFs, and memes, so including these at the right time in your conversations will go a long way.

The youngest of those in the workforce, Generation Z (born between 1997-today) is the most tech-savvy in both their professional and personal worlds. Similarly to Gen X, this age group prioritizes a healthy work-life balance and expects benefits such as flexible working arrangements to be offered at whatever company they decide to work for.

In terms of communication, it’s important to remember that this generation is the first group of digital natives. It’s because of this that Gen Z has a short attention span and communicates via “bite-size” snippets constantly, primarily on mobile devices and casual platforms such as instant messaging as opposed to email or phone calls.

 

The tools & technology:

Now that we understand what the differences between these generations and their communication styles are, we’re ready to explore what tools and technologies can help bridge the gap and get people of various generations working smoothly together.

When it comes to business communication, a formalized and uniform policy is important for every organization.

In order to make these policies work for all generations, your business might need to make compromises on which tools to use and hold information sessions to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can make it easy for employees from all generations to connect and communicate by simplifying the process for everyone.

Here are a few tools that can improve cross-generational communication:

Unified Communications Platforms – For communication between the generations, using simple technology is one way to make sure that all of your employees will pick them up with ease. One way to ensure this is the case is by using a unified communications platform that hosts forms of email, video conferencing, chat and more in one place. This way, your employees will only have to learn one system one time and can seamlessly switch between the channels without losing any dialogue.

Calendar Syncing Tools – A smart calendar tool is ideal for those companies with multigenerational teams because it allows everyone to keep track of one another in real-time. These tools give coworkers the ability to view one another’s’ availability, schedule meetings, send updates of meeting changes and see room availability without having lengthy conversations. This way, even the less tech-savvy generations have just one place to check to find out when their colleagues are available.

 

Anonymous Feedback Systems – When it comes to getting feedback on how your business is running, the best way to ensure that all generations are being honest and open is by collecting that feedback anonymously. This type of feedback system allows your employees from the more reserved generations to feel safe knowing that their responses won’t negatively impact them, and can lead to improved employee morale and interaction. Getting the teams together on a regular basis to openly converse about what works well, and what needs to be improved, glues the team together. With baseline measurements, the impact of information sessions, company events, communications etc., can automatically be measured.

Project Management Software – With deadlines looming, one of the biggest struggles for intergenerational teams is often the different senses of urgency that exist between the groups. To combat feelings of unalignment, project management software helps by setting clear deadlines and expectations in one place while eliminating the need for managers to send constant reminders and ask for updates manually.

 

In the end, the key to improving communication and employee morale in the workplace is by taking the time to better understand the different generations within your company.

This way, you can create the appropriate set of policies and start implementing the right tools to help your employees feel comfortable, confident and a valuable asset to your business.

From implementing project management software and unified communications tools to adding in a calendar syncing tool and anonymous feedback system, there are plenty of methods to improve the way your intergenerational teams work every day.

What would your employees pick first to improve cross-generational communication and employee morale? Have a chat with them! Face to face communication (and truly listening) never grows old.

 

About the author:

Evelyn Grande is a business communication specialist who spends her days researching and writing about all things business communication. When she isn’t nose-deep in her research, you can find Evelyn unwinding on a hike or bike ride through the mountains.

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