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Speaking to Each Generation in the Workplace

Communicating with employees in different generations can be a challenge. But once you get a handle on each group’s basic communication style, interacting with all the generations you employ becomes a lot easier.

Silents, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials all have their own approaches to the workplace. An employee’s generation influences everything from work ethic to communication style and feedback preferences, among other traits. If you need to enhance communication with members of some or all of these groups, take a look at their generational profiles.

The Silent Generation

Employees born prior to 1945 are likely to have been with your company their entire careers. That level of loyalty to and knowledge of your business is invaluable. It also helps explain their desire to know you appreciate and respect their experience.

Silents tend to assume all’s well until they hear otherwise, so keep that in mind as you plan employee feedback. No need to email them either. Face-to-face conversation is important for Silents, many of whom aren’t natural users of high-tech communications media.

Baby Boomers

You probably have a lot of post-World War II workers on your team. Baby Boomers have been in the workforce for many decades, but their communication style differs from the Silent Generation in several ways. For one thing, Boomers were early adopters of information technology at work. For that reason they will be more open to email and phone communications from your company than Silents, while still preferring face-to-face discussion.

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Boomers have long been known as the generation on a crusade to change the world. As such, they tend to be great team players. Be sure to communicate to these employees how valued they are.

Generation X

The segment of your team born in the ’60s and ’70s are definitely willing to work hard, but they often desire more specific direction from their employers than employees in older generations. Be prepared to provide specific requirements and action steps to assure these employees are delivering what you need, the way you need it.

The Generation X years witnessed the rise of the digital age in business, and most of these workers are quite comfortable with digital media both at work and in their personal lives. Feel free to email or even text message them about work.

Taking a largely entrepreneurial view of work, they should offer your company plenty of innovative ideas and projects—and they’ll appreciate hearing what you think of their work on a regular basis. Annual evaluations are a must.

Millennials

That entrepreneurial spirit you’ve noticed among your Gen X workers is something they passed on to many of their Millennial children. And here’s some good news if you like using social media or online platforms to update employees: Millennials are even more technologically inclined than Gen X, and they are quite comfortable with those media.

To motivate Millennials, always remember their longing for feedback. You can’t really overcommunicate with this group of workers, who will probably ask how they’re doing whether you bring the subject up or not. You can use Millennial interest in feedback to keep up constant communication and maximize transparency.

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Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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