Intergenerational Communication at Workplace

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Take a close look at your own organization. These days the organization has become a multi-generational environment. A study says in  2020 we have four generations right from Baby Boomers to Gen Z working together in the same organization but the question is are these five generations communicating productively with each other or are the cultural, economic, and social variances between generations often making productive communication difficult.

Effective communication is the spine of a high-performance organization. The faulty communication can create generational conflict that slows production, reduces workplace enjoyment, and productivity, and fosters distrust.  Similarly, when teams communicate effectively, productivity could increase by as much as 25%.  A company culture that champions the values and viewpoints of each generation starts with an understanding of basic generational differences, biases, and communication styles. Onsite, hybrid, and remote working options place new demands on everyday communications that can add more value, trust, and productivity to the organization.

There are three main generations represented in today’s organization:

  1. Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964
  2. Generation Xers born between 1965 and 1980
  3. Millennials born between 1981 and 1996
  4. We have fourth-generation Gen Z  born between 1997 and 2012  also but they have a lesser part to share.

Research shows that millennials share the largest portion of the workplace with a 35% share. Right after the Millennials are the Generation Xers who account for about a third of the labor force. Baby boomers represent about a quarter of the remaining workforce. We can not deny the fact that the fourth Gen Z who has freshly done their graduation or post-graduation has their share too in the organization.  As Baby Boomers retire the post-Millennials stake their claim, and workplace dynamics will continue to offer communication gaps and challenges.

Baby Boomers: A Traditional Generation

Born after World War II, through 1964, baby boomers have long been known for their strong work ethic, face-to-face interaction, and goal-centric tendencies. They value relationships, tend to be self-assured, outspoken, opinionated, hardworking, and want to be acknowledged for their skills. They are often a great source of experience and knowledge about their industry and appreciate the chance to share their expertise.  They do not have as much experience with digital devices as their successors because they didn’t grow up using computers although they use technology for job-related functionality and this explains the common perception that baby boomers are less tech-savvy than other generations.  In theory or reality, this perception influences how younger and older generations communicate in the workplace.

How Baby Boomers Communicate:

Though Baby boomers prefer face-to-face or telephonic communication, many of them are comfortable with digital communication like e-mailing but prefer telephonic or traditional conversation instead of the technology used by the younger generation.

Gen Xers: A bridge between baby boomers and Millennials

Squeezed between the baby boomers and Millennials, Gen Xers were shaped by the evolution of personal computers. In a workforce dominated by baby boomers and Millennials, Generation Xers are considered to be a transitional or bridge between generations. They are more familiar with technology than baby boomers but lack the understanding of tech that younger generations possess. Many Gen Xers can use technology as productively as Millennials, but value the same face-to-face interactions as baby boomers do.

Overall, Gen Xers are viewed as resilient, and independent and value freedom and responsibility in the workplace. This generation is not fond of being instructed what to do,   they have their own way of reaching goals that have been clearly communicated along with expectations.

Most members of this generation are already well-established in their careers and in their lives and can be resourceful assets to the entire company all because of their immense experiences and hard work.

How Gen Xians communicate:

When it comes to communication both personally and professionally gen Xians are comfortable using various forms of communication, both online and in person. Generation X prefers to communicate using short, brief messages that get to the point quickly. Members of this generation mostly prefer communicating via email, but an occasional phone call, text, or meeting will also do the trick. They also feel that the technology should support their professional growth but are known for shunning technology for micromanaging things.

Gen Y or Millenials: The Digital Natives:

Generation Y is the first generation to grow up with the internet, smartphones, and digital communication starting at an early age  “Digital natives” is a term often used to describe people who grew up tech-savvy. These professionals have faced the recession period so they have a very extensive and prudent view of their careers but at the same time, they do not hesitate to switch jobs if they feel that their potential is not completely exploited by the current organization or they are underrated and undervalued there. This generation is very fluent in social media and uses other digital platforms extensively for business to their understanding of how to find and process information, their knowledge of the digital world makes them a valuable asset in today’s workplace. Generally, Millennials are motivated by challenge, action, unconditional acceptance, and change.

How Millenials Communicate:

Considering it is time-consuming, millennials usually do not respond to phone calls. They don’t walk around the room to meet and talk to the people. They lack proficiency with traditional communication methods like face-to-face interaction, long e-mails, or telephonic conversation. They like short messaging or online messaging to communicate in the workplace.


Workplace communication will become much more complex in the post covid world and they will need to be trained in communication skills to deal with multiple generations such that productivity is maximized and harmony is maintained.

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