How to manage generational communication gaps
At this point in time a business workforce consists of a range of generations, from traditionalists to generation Z. Each generation has different requirements and needs when it comes to what they look for in a job and the way they work. They also have different mindsets and ways of thinking that are unique to them. However, at times because of their differences conflict and miscommunication can arise.
Having a range of generations working in your business is a great thing. It gives your business the ability to understand how each generation works and thinks. This helps in terms of marketing and product creation as your business will be able to appeal to a wider range of customers.
Each generation has its own stereotype attached to it, this at times can be one of the reasons why conflict can arise. Traditionalists are considered old by younger generations much like grandparents, which at times can result in younger generations underestimating their years of experience. This works the other way too where the older generation thinks that the younger ones aren’t as hardworking as them and think of them as children who don’t really know what they’re talking about rather than as co-workers.
Communication is one of the biggest problems that the generation gaps can result in. Nowadays millennials and gen Z communicate using a range of apps such as snapchat, instagram, etc. which older generations don’t know how to use. Stereotypes are also another reason for why communication problems can arise. Below are four ways in which this can be changed.
1. Create opportunities for communications
Having team exercises and interdepartmental projects encourage communication between different generations, this can help in separating some of the stereotypes surrounding each generation. Employees will have to fine a way to communicate with each other to get their work done.
2. Mix and match.
Putting together employees that are from different generations creates a pool of different personalities and perspectives. By taking them out of their comfort zones they are more likely to think differently and consider what the other have to say with a more open mind.
3. Respectful environments.
Enforcing a respectful environment helps to create an atmosphere of openness as employees would be able to share their opinions and ideas without the fear of being rejected or ridiculed. They will also begin to better understand each other and respect different ways of thinking.
4. Standardize communication.
The younger generations are more technologically advanced than others as they were growing up as technology was advancing. Snapchat, Instagram, etc. are the methods by which they usually use to communicate. However older generations like traditionalists and baby boomers might not be comfortable with that. Having a single platform for communication throughout your business can clear up any miscommunication as everyone will know how to use it.
Having such a great deal of diversity in a single workforce can be a challenge at times, but if managed properly it can work out to be of great advantage. Diversity fosters creative and dynamic thinking that is essential to a business.
If you like our article and would like to share your views, please drop your comments below.
Azarah Singh is currently an intern at EdGE Networks and will be going on to study business management and entrepreneurship.