Anyone who works in a multi-generational workplace knows that cross-generational communications are often fraught with peril. Tension, too. Plenty of tension.
The problem is that older workers believe that Millennials are incapable of appropriate modes of communication. That’s quite a generalization. Say it out loud and see if you like the way it sounds coming out of your mouth.
No? That’s a good start.
The trick here is to change the way you look at your Millennial colleagues. They are not “them”. “Them” is linguistic signifier which does nothing to solve your communications problem. It only makes it worse.
These tips on improving cross-generational communications are offered to the frustrated and resentful. Let us reflect on them for the sake of workplace harmony.
Teams – Where We Learn About Each Other
In an emotionally intelligent workplace, teams exist not just to get things done. They exist to strengthen the fabric of the culture in which these teams are working.
That’s why they’re an opportunity for improving cross-generational communications.
In a team setting, varying aptitudes can be utilized for the good of the whole. What the Boomer is good at, the Millennial may not be and vice versa. Creating situations in which people of different age groups have the chance to broaden their skill set with knowledge and skills from workers in other demographic groups creates synergy and cohesion.
Why more companies don’t intentionally pursue this opportunity to improve cross-generational communications is a mystery.
Not only are you building understanding intramurally, you’re setting up the next generation of leaders. In a market where top talent is getting harder to find, it’s to your advantage to deliberately pair older workers with younger one. They can learn from each other and create unique solutions to problems with the varying inputs offered.
Mentoring may sound like a lot of work. But when you consider that retaining key talent is also difficult (especially Millennial talent), then the wisdom of this arrangement becomes clearer.
Respect is not a four-letter word. Neither is listening. Both these words are fundamental to fostering a culture in which everyone is valued. From the manager with several decades of knowledge under her belt to the fresh-faced kid with buckets of enthusiasm and fresh ideas, everyone in your company is there for a reason and every one of your people deserves to be heard and respected.
Older workers have epic tales of trial, error, guts and glory to share with bright-eyed, ambitious Millennials. Millennials have a new perspective to share, with ideas never attempted; crazy ideas which may be the thin edge of the wedge you need to succeed.
Aretha had it right. Respect keeps the home fires burning.
When we’re not throwing down wisdom on cross-generational communications, Opdecision is busy making your company’s communications less costly.
We’re wireless/telecom cost reduction superstars who bring your company insider expertise, gleaned from our time in the industry.
That’s knowledge which finds savings in your billings and contract without switching providers or changing equipment.
Contact us. Communicating shouldn’t cost so much.