Bridging the Gap in a Multi-Generational Workplace

No Comments
  • 35% of the workforce in the U.S. is made up of Millennials, the largest generation represented
  • 70% of Generation X would rather work independently than collaboratively, and they have earned the most college degrees (35% over Millennials at 19%)
  • Generation Z now accounts for 5% of the workforce

Part of managing a business and creating a well-balanced company culture is knowing your employees. This includes making sure they’re communicating well with one another. You can start by exploring the generational divides in our culture that may be represented within your business.

Just like ethnic and socioeconomic diversity fosters inclusiveness and collaboration, generational diversity also adds new insights into how your business’s objectives are being accomplished.

This is especially true when you consider how each generation thinks. Then you can start learning how to bridge the communication gap within a multi-generational workplace.

Defining the Generations

Typically you hear about the “younger generation” versus the “older generation,” each with its set of stereotypes and caricatures. But this doesn’t really define much of anything besides undue bias, and only reinforces managerial and hiring decisions based on ageism.

Despite contrary belief, people in different age brackets can work together—not only with efficiency, but in harmony!

In fact, there are actually five major generation groups in the U.S. workforce today:

  • Traditionalists
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Millennials
  • Generation Z

What are generation gaps?

Traditionalists

Research data waffles on exact dates separating each generation, so there is some overlap. However, the general consensus is that those of the Traditionalist generation were born before 1945 and shaped by the World War era.

Many Traditionalists have overcome financial and economic hardship, and since, they’ve earned a reputation for being hard workers, dependable and loyal.

Stereotypes: Have not adapted to modern technology, stubborn, and resistant to change.

Communication Style: Prefer face-to-face and handwritten communication.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 – 1964. They have also been referred to as the Me Generation because of the youth culture in society at that time, which was focused on what writer and journalist Tom Wolfe called “self-fulfillment” and “self-realization.”

This generation was shaped by a post-World War II economy and the Vietnam War, but also by TV and phones. They value success that comes from sacrifice, as well as paying your dues in order to advance in your career.

Stereotypes: Productive and ambitious, but also highly competitive and not collaborative.

Communication Style: Efficiency is key—written communication, phone calls, and face-to-face.

Generation X

Generation X accounts for people born from 1965 – 1980. They were culturally nicknamed “Latchkey Kids,” due to high divorce rates and the number of families with both parents working in the household.

The birth of the early internet was obviously pivotal, and as a result, Generation X has been able to adapt to modern technology better than Traditionalists and Baby Boomers, but it isn’t generally as ingrained as it is for Millennials and Gen Z.

Stereotypes: flexible and adaptive, self-reliant, skeptical, resistant to work/company changes that affect personal lives.

Communication Style: Email, phone calls, and face-to-face communication.

Millennials

What are generation types?

Millennials (or Generation Y) were born around 1981 – 1996. They currently dominate the workforce at 35%, and have been most impacted by the internet and smartphone technology. This includes the rise of social media platforms, and how Millennials are able to use them as career networking opportunities. As a result, they adapt the quickest to these kinds of innovations compared to the other three generations mentioned so far.

Stereotypes: Great multitaskers and achievement-oriented, but aren’t team players. Not as hardworking as Traditionalists or Baby Boomers.

Communication Style: Email, texting, Instant Messaging (IM), and phone calls.

 

Generation Z

People in Generation Z were born between 1997 – 2020. Only 5% of them are in the workforce, but they’re making an impact due to their adept mastery of technology and social media, as well as their focus on diversity and representation—both in the workplace and in mainstream media.

Stereotypes: entrepreneurial, creative, lack of experience, always looking for new opportunities, no company loyalty.

Communication Style: all digital communication.

Streamlining Communication Between the Generational Gaps

So we’ve established what the generation types are and how they communicate, and even some of their stereotype characteristics. But how do you begin streamlining communication, and collaboration, between them?

Provide Opportunities for Different Communication Styles

While Traditionalists and Baby Boomers, on the whole, may struggle with the more nuanced aspects of today’s technological advances, they can benefit from the dexterity of Millennials and Gen Zs. While those younger generations can gain beneficial tools that come from face-to-face communication, not to mention the creativity that can spark from taking hand-written notes.

Providing opportunities for different communication styles—say through department meetings and presentations—can foster an environment where coworkers can share important key values, regardless of age.

Team Building Exercises

Team building exercises can also help develop collaboration and trust between coworkers in a multi-generational workplace. Respect and inclusion can be more easily gained without the pressure of a day’s workload during business hours. Here are some examples of effective team building outings:

  • Happy Hours
  • Parties
  • Lunches
  • Volunteer Work
  • Retreats

Cross-Generation Mentoring

You can bridge skillsets by allowing members with seniority to share their expertise through cross-generation mentoring, but they can also gain insights into being better multitaskers and collaborators. Meanwhile, Younger coworkers can learn traditional methods and the benefits of structured approaches. Each age group can work together more cohesively to come up with more efficient ways to do things.

Respect Generational & Individual Identities, Not Stereotypes

Your business objectives are being met and accomplished by real people, not stats and stereotypes. These generation types are an important guide, but ultimately, this serves for you to continue research into your own company demographic.

What does a multigenerational workplace look like?

Need More Advice on Your Multi-Generational Workplace?

Remember that each generation has their own set of overarching values. This is largely because of the cultural events that shaped them. But at the same time, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to managing a multi-generational workplace, and no company culture looks the same.

Here at Digital Resource, we are made up of several departments with specialists from all walk and stages of life. All to make up one DR Family. Contact us today to learn more about how we can be your guide!

Alexandra is a content specialist, graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She has a passion for literature and writing, and has extensive experience in content writing for digital marketing.

Free Internet Marketing Analysis

Our team is ready to review your website, your search rankings, and social media presence. We'll provide you with some tips to help you propel traffic, drive leads and increase revenue.

RSS Test

  • 60+ Social Media Posts for Your Business February 18, 2020
    81% of U.S. users have at least one account on social media, and over 50% have more than one. More than 80 million small businesses have Facebook Pages. Instagram ads can potentially reach over 849 million users. Social media has arguably experienced the most growth of any digital marketing strategy. Its impact on business growth […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • The Ultimate Guide to Online Reputation Management February 11, 2020
    69% of potential employees won’t apply to a business that has a bad reputation 92% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to engage with a business 85% of people think online reviews are as valuable, or more, than personal recommendations Your personal reputation isn’t so different from your business’s reputation online, except that online […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • Video Marketing Basics | How to Prepare for a Video Shoot February 7, 2020
    87% of industry professionals say they use video in their digital marketing strategy 92% of marketing professionals are able to make videos with assets they already have Video content marketing can increase brand awareness by 54% Video is currently dominating content marketing trends. It’s been shown to give a huge boost to lead generation, conversions, […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • Bridging the Gap in a Multi-Generational Workplace February 5, 2020
    35% of the workforce in the U.S. is made up of Millennials, the largest generation represented 70% of Generation X would rather work independently than collaboratively, and they have earned the most college degrees (35% over Millennials at 19%) Generation Z now accounts for 5% of the workforce Part of managing a business and creating […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • The State of Digital Marketing in 2020 February 3, 2020
    Content marketing is less expensive than paid advertising by 62%, and creates three times as many conversions Voice search is an increasingly growing industry, expected to earn over $40 billion by 2022 53% of marketing strategies utilize interactive content to generate leads 2019 was a big year for the digital marketing game. Google released its […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • How to Define Your Target Audience January 16, 2020
    Over 70% of marketing strategies miss out on optimizing ads with customer behavioral data 53% of content marketing uses interactive content to generate leads 27% of marketing professionals find budgeting costs to be the most challenging What do job interviews, investor pitches, and digital marketing strategies have in common? It’s not hard to spot. If […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • Strategies to Get More Traffic To Your Blog January 14, 2020
    Have you created a new blog? That’s great! But creating the blog is only half the battle. You also need to get traffic to it. It is useless to develop fantastic content if no one gets to read it. So it is essential to look for ways on how you can increase traffic to your […]
    Digital Resource
  • Top 10+ Digital Web Design Assets (Both Free and Premium) to Help You Work Smarter January 13, 2020
    When you do simple research for the top web design resources and tools, you’ll be flooded with hundreds of ideas. From one side, it’s great because you get a chance to find a tool designed specifically to help you out. From the flip side, the decision-making process can last for hours and even days. So, […]
    Digital Resource
  • Website Design Case Study | Criminal Defense Attorney January 6, 2020
    As designers and developers, our web team always works to put themselves in the shoes of the intended audience. So, when a local criminal defense attorney with 35+ years of experience came to Digital Resource for a website revamp, we had our work cut out for us. The Problem Our goal was to redesign and […]
    Emily Creighton
  • SEO Case Study | Home Services Company January 6, 2020
    The Problem 0 to 100? Try 1000 to 1! A local home services company was building beautiful outdoor kitchens for luxurious, tropical homes. What they were not building was a successful SEO strategy that would bring in more business. The Strategy Let us paint you a picture. This company could not be found in the […]
    Emily Creighton

More from our blog

See all posts