Understanding your audience is the key to effective communications. Today’s workplace generally has a broad mix of employees spanning four different generations. Developing a targeted communication strategy to meet these generational needs may seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be.
As tech-savvy Millennials quickly become the majority of workers today, it’s important to understand some of the generational differences and what drives them – before you can tailor your communication approach:
- Traditionalists (born before 1946): Raised in the aftermath of World War II, they understand sacrifice and uncertainty. They feel lucky to have a job and will often stay with a company for life. They are team players who appreciate expert testimonials and leadership endorsements.
- Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964): Know what it’s like to compete for jobs. They are willing to work long hours to get ahead and are loyal to their employers. However, they also feel a sense of entitlement in return for their dedication. This group likes to understand the big picture and how they fit in.
- Generation X (born 1965 – 1979): Maintain independence and remain open to moving jobs for a better deal. They have learned to value cell phones and computers, rather than face-to-face communication. Work-life balance is a priority.
- Millennials (born 1980 – 2000): The “Internet Generation” prefers quick access to information when and where they need it. Through social media use they want collaboration and validation from peers. They have short attention spans, but multi-task well. They don’t differentiate between work and personal life as their older colleagues do – so they value work that is meaningful.
5 Quick Tips for Communicating Across Generations
While you cannot stereotype employees by age, it can be helpful to consider these differences as you determine key messages and effective communication channels. So how do you develop a communication strategy that works across the generations? Here are some tips: