There’s no question that the mark Millennial’s (1981- 1996) and Generation Z, (1997- 2012) are making in organisations is increasingly significant. This can be a scary thought for those of us who haven’t quite grasped the concept of sharing our workspace with people we don’t yet understand, raising the question of how to best communicate intergenerationally in order to improve the organisations culture.
It’s important that we keep up with a fast-moving new generation, while also fostering effective forms of communication between all generations of the workforce. Technology is more important now than ever before, which means it can be used to your advantage when creating effective communication channels with Millennials and Gen Z. Therefore, ensure that you are using a variety of communication passages, whether that be emails, instant messaging, company group chats, online notice boards, or in-person meetings, so you can effectively connect to both younger and older staff members.
Additionally, encouraging all kinds of interactivity between different generations within your organisation is important in making all members of your staff feel seen and validated, while exposing them to new and different ways of thinking that help them to understand and connect with each other.
While banishing negative stereotypes about generations is important in making your community feel appreciated, there is also a need to understand that different generations do see their work-life and career goals differently, which should be taken into consideration when facilitating a positive organisational communication culture. For example, while the older generation may prefer validation in the form of promotions or awards, Millennials and Gen Z generally appreciate minor gestures of validation or simple acknowledgements and a healthy work-life balance over financial gain. Therefore, consider trying different incentive and reward programs that can be tailored to different generations within your organisational community. However, it is important to make your staff feel heard, so try not to underestimate or condescend your younger staff members because of their age, just as you should try not to make your older staff members feel replaced or under-appreciated.
Through incorporating these communication strategies into your multi-generational workplace environment, your organisations will not only keep up with the ever-changing and fast-moving pace of the younger generation, but also learn to thrive in cooperation with those who represent its future.