Mind the Generation Gap in the Workplace

Mind the Generation Gap in the Workplace

We perceive an upsurge in generational gaps in the workplace as more college graduates are being hired whilst senior citizens are procrastinating retirement to a later age. Consequently, people of diverse ages, anywhere from 18 to 70 years old, are working and cooperating together in the office. The mixture of baby boomers and millennials and those generations in the middle, undoubtedly adds diversity. It likewise adds generational differences in beliefs, lifestyle, experience and technical understanding that can lead to bumps along the road.

Here's a closer view at the dissimilarities in communication styles and how to enhance communication between generations in the workplace.

How Each Generation Chooses To Communicate
While it's essential to treat everybody as an individual and not categorize them based on their generation, there are some overall differences to bear in mind. For instance: 

Baby Boomers tend  to choose face to face communication or phone discussions over email, since they adjusted to online communication technology far ahead in their lifetime. 

Gen Xers are more enlightened and open-minded to technology, even though it might not be second to nature, they do accept original progressions like Facebook and email. Although this generation is likely to be unheeded for promotions, they play an important part in leadership, handling more direct reports, remaining in their organization longer and taking on massive workloads. Also, they prefer technology that helps and contributes to their professional growth (Vdovin, 2020). 

Millennials want to work for an organization that welcomes technology more so than the generations before them, mostly because they grew up with technology, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops at their fingertips. Online communication was used in all facets of their lives including social, family and work connections. Millennials’ online communications are boundless, from social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to instantaneous messaging like Facebook chat and WhatsApp. Moreover, they strive for/require immediate fulfilment and lack the formalities of previous generations (Vdovin, 2020). 

Generation Z, on the other hand, has certainly not known a world without technology and believes the tech they use in the workroom to be just as effortlessly smooth as the apps they use at home. They choose a workplace that permits them to use their personal device if possible. They also absolutely love to connect with images, through numerous screens and devices. 

Ways To Improve Communication Between Generations In the Workplace
Appreciating how each generation perceives technology and chooses to use it can help you pick which tools to execute and also we need to make sure that everyone's requirements are taken into account. Below are a few different strategies that can help bridge this generational gap. 

Educate Co-workers On the Risks of Stereotypes
Underscore that co-workers should treat each other as individuals rather than a generalized associate of a generation. Support co-workers to dispel preconceived ideas that colour their opinion of others by enlightening them on the differences in communication and how to welcome those differences.

Persuading millennials to interact face-to-face and baby boomers to become more social media savvy, for instance, will help break down many of the prejudgements. 

Set Beliefs Concerning Workplace Culture and Behaviour
When Baby Boomers were arriving at the workforce, suits and ties were worn daily and computers were non-existent, much less  emails. The tables have turned a lot since then. Not only do we have fancy looking computers, but we have smartphones that permits us to interconnect from virtually anywhere. While it might be second nature for a millennial worker to have their smartphone vibrating next to them on their counter and reply to notifications, other generations possibly will consider it impolite. And one generation's meaning of business casual might be significantly dissimilar from that of another generation (Wong, 2020)

As their front-runner, it is vital for you to evidently communicate prospects for workplace etiquette and attire. If everyone is aware of what is anticipated of them, there is little room for dispute and finger-pointing, and more room for cooperation and efficiency. 

 Promote and Support a Blend of Communication Approaches
Embolden different generations to mix things with workplace communication. Take the lead and properly demonstrate to your employees that email, instantaneous messaging, group meetings and individual meetings can all be successful methods to communicate.

Accept the differences in the communication predilections of each generation and educate your co-workers to do the same. Foster a variety of communication ways and encourage a culture that respects each generation's beliefs and watch those demanding communication gaps shrink. 

Ask, Don’t Assume
Miscommunication creates disagreement in the ranks. And you know how assumptions can cause notorious problems. Therefore, encourage your team to communicate. Rather than presuming the worst about their co-workers, they must involve them in conversation and ask questions. Ultimately, they are all working towards achieving the same goals. Guide your team by example, crushing down the typical stereotypes along the way (Wong, 2020). 

By Nathasha Hindurangala

Vdovin, A. (2020). Managing Communication Differences Between Generations In The Workplace. Retrieved 13 October 2020, from https://www.alert-software.com/blog/corporate-communications-strategies-for-a-cross-generational-workforce

Wong, K. (2020). 5 Ways to Bridge the Generation Gap Between Employees  | Engage Blog. Retrieved 12 October 2020, from https://www.achievers.com/blog/5-ways-to-bridge-the-generation-gap-between-employees/

Image Reference 
Cover Photo : Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash