Communication Strategies to Manage the Generation Gap

Proper listening requires full concentration and understanding—and then actually remembering what was being said rather than jumping to the next topic or making sure the conversation quickly steers back into the direction one wishes it to.

Proper listening requires full concentration and understanding—and then actually remembering what was being said rather than jumping to the next topic or making sure the conversation quickly steers back into the direction one wishes it to.

While they have been around for years, millennials seems to be all the buzz in the workplace these days. What do millennials want in the workplace? What do they want from work in general? How are they different from other generations? And, the most common question this author has heard, how does one even communicate with millennials? To answer these questions, it is important to start with some basics.

Just like every generation, millennials have their own set of characteristics. They do tend to think, listen, and learn different than generation X; however, this can also be said about baby boomers versus generation X, or traditionalists versus baby boomers. Come to think of it, there are times when people question others’ way of doing things when they are the same age.

This is the first time there has been four generations in the workplace. According to a recent Gallup poll, the average retirement age is 62. This is up, as the average age was holding steady at 60 for the past 10 years. However, as one may notice in their company, it is not uncommon to still be working or have employees who are in their late 60s or even early 70s. And just to make it even more of a challenge, an increasing number of staff members fall into the generation Z category, which means sign shop owners may be presented with an even greater challenge of managing five generations within one organization. So, where does one begin with respect to overcoming these challenges?

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