Page 4 - MIL Leadership Line: February 2023
P. 4

Communicating in a

        Multigenerational Workplace

        In today’s workplace, there can be up to five different generations working together, with each generation having
        its own way of communicating. There are many factors that contribute to how we communicate with each other,
        and generational differences can be one of them. Although every individual will not fit perfectly into his or her
        generation’s broad characteristics, each generation does exhibit differentiating traits. It is critical to understand how
        people born into different generations communicate when it comes to getting the job done.

                     » Traditionalists value duty, dedication, and sacrifice, and often identifies with the importance of
                     honor and loyalty. Brought up in the age of the written word, this generation tends to communicate
                     with a high level of formality when it comes to their written and oral communication.
                     » Baby Boomers appreciate formal and direct communications with a preference for using face-to-face,
                     phone and email; they value background information and details.
                     » Generation X appreciate informal and flexible communications with a preference for using email,
                     phone, and text; they value a professional etiquette.

                     » Millennials appreciate authentic and fast communications with a preference for using text, chat, and
                     email; they value efficiency and a digital-first approach.

                     » Generation Z appreciate transparent and visual communications with a preference for using face-to-
                     face; they value video, voice-command, and a mobile-only approach.

        The complexity of communication intensifies when multiple channels are combined with the varying
        communication preferences and expectations of each generation in the workforce. Communicating between
        generations is challenging, but leaders want to get it right. Here’s five ways you can improve communication
        between generations on your team:

                   1.  Gain generational awareness: learning how each generation approaches communication is key,
                     generational traits and clues can guide but are not always absolutes.
                   2.  Mirror the communication: respond to communications using the same channel in which it was
                   3.  Set communication expectations: If a team or individual hasn’t been explicit about their
                     communication preferences, others are left guessing which of the myriad communication channels to
                     use and will usually default to their personal preference.

                   4.  Create a team communication agreement: the purpose of establishing a communication
                     agreement is to create official guidelines that highlight the rules of how a team is to communicate
                     with one another.
                   Source: How to Improve Communication Between Generations in the Workplace

                        “…setting expectations and finding a balance regarding workplace communication is
                        imperative to success – especially when on a client site! Holding one-on-one meetings helps
                        everyone understand the different preferences in communication. Employees and managers
                        need to be willing to try different types of communication and to learn from each other!”
                       -Bonnie Shin, VP DoS GFS Sector
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