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

  • 4 Reasons Facebook Ads Are Critical for Your Business During COVID-19  March 22, 2020
    COVID-19 earns around 20 million social media mentions a day Global social media usage has grown by nearly 50% since the Ebola epidemic in 2014 Brand awareness ads are a cost-effective way to keep companies front of mind There no other way to say it – it is a scary time to be a marketer […]
    Nathan Mendenhall
  • Ways Going Live Online Can Help You Connect with Your Customer Base March 20, 2020
    87% of businesses have been using video as a marketing tool since 2019. 42% of customers prefer live chat than email (23%) or social media (16%) as a customer service tool. 87% of people prefer watching content online over TV if it means getting behind-the-scenes content. It’s definitely a trying time for all of us. The current […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • Does Influencer Marketing for Businesses Really Work? March 19, 2020
    65% of digital marketers plan to raise their influencer marketing budgets in 2020. 89% of digital marketers think return on investment (ROI) from influencer marketing is comparable or better than other strategies. Now in 2020, Instagram ranks #1 for the most influencing social media platform, and it is the most used platform for influencer marketing. […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • Digital Resource Ranks No. 30 on Inc. Magazine’s Inaugural Inc. 5000 Series: Florida March 19, 2020
    WEST PALM BEACH, March 18, 2020 – Inc. Magazine announced that Digital Resource is no. 30 out of 250 on the first-ever Inc. 5000 Series: Florida ranking of the state’s fastest-growing private companies. With a 395 percent two-year growth rate between 2016 and 2018, the company is honored to be recognized on such a prestigious […]
    Emily Creighton
  • The Most Effective Types of Interactive Content for Social Media March 11, 2020
    81% of digital marketing professionals say interactive content is more effective than static content in grabbing attention. Interactive content generates twice as many conversions as static content. 88% of digital marketing professionals say interactive content helps them stand out against competitors. The way technology keeps evolving, more and more innovations are being made that make […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • Using A/B Testing to Optimize Your Digital Campaign March 4, 2020
    Only 17% take advantage of landing page A/B tests to drive conversion rates. Nearly half of digital marketing experts say they test different subject lines to strengthen their email marketing. 71 percent of businesses run two or more A/B tests per month. Looking for ways to improve performance on your ad campaign? Maybe you’re trying […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • 12 Types of Blogs You Can Write Today February 28, 2020
    55% of digital marketing professionals say blog content is their best strategy in lead generation. A survey conducted by WordPress found more than 409 million users view over 21.1 billion webpages every month. 77% of online users habitually read blogs. On average, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising (according to […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • SEO Basics Every Business Owner Should Know February 27, 2020
    61% of digital marketing experts say improving SEO and expanding their online presence is their top priority. Organic SEO is about 6 times more effective than paid search ads. 52% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. One of the most effective ways to market your business online is by having a stellar website. But […]
    Alexandra Gomez
  • 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

More from our blog

See all posts