Note: This post contains generalizations for illustrative purposes that should under no circumstances be interpreted as applicable to all members of a given generation. 

How do you ensure good communication in a team that comprises three to four different generations with substantially different needs, interests, perceptions, and ways of communicating? 

Being aware of the generational diversity within your organization and adapting your internal communication strategy accordingly can help with recruitment and retention of staff.

Let’s look at the workplace characteristics of different generations and the ways to integrate generational diversity into communication strategies.  


The different generations in the workplace

According to author Vanessa Haché, an expert in generational diversity in the workplace, each generation has its own characteristics that are not always well understood by colleagues of other generations. 


The baby boomers

Between the ages of 59 and 77, baby boomers have experienced the post-World War II era of social reintegration, growth, and prosperity. They have also built great institutions during this time.

Their added value in the workplace

They value hard work, professionalism, routine and job security, and respect the rules and hierarchy. Many of them stay in one place their entire working lives. As a result, they often have a great organizational memory and knowledge of the work environment! 

Generation X

Generation X people are between the ages of 47 and 58. They have had more difficulty than baby boomers entering the labor market. Positioned between two economic crises, this period saw a very high unemployment rate. Many people from this generation have studied longer than the previous generation.

Their added value in the workplace

Their inclination for education has led Generation X to want a better balance between their work and personal lives. As the first activists of work-family balance, they are masters of time management. Just like the baby boomers, they share the values of hierarchical structure and job stability. 

Generation Y (Millennials)

Millennials today are between 26 and 46 years old and have experienced the evolution of technologies. Having seen their baby boomer parents invest a lot of time and energy in their work, members of Generation Y don’t want to replicate this work-centered lifestyle.  

Their added value in the workplace

They want a job that allows them to experiment, learn and travel. Flexibility and telecommuting are key factors in choosing an employer. Furthermore, Generation Y believes in the concept of mentoring rather than hierarchy and authority. People from this generation want to collaborate and work as a team rather than to work for someone.

Generation Z 

Ranging in age from 13 to 25 in 2023, members of Generation Z are gradually entering the workforce. Their outlook on life is influenced by the ubiquity of global issues on digital platforms. Their sensitivity to the realities of others makes them inclusive and dialogue oriented. 

Their added value in the workplace

Having never known a life without the Internet, Generation Z is digitally connected, enjoys task diversity, frequent feedback and is motivated by short-term goal-oriented work. Geared towards entrepreneurship or working multiple jobs simultaneously, Generation Z prefers to forge its own path without a mentor like Generation Y did. 

Communication tips in a generational diversity context

Addressing generational diversity through internal communications begins with embracing proximity leadership that emphasizes adaptation rather than resistance. 


Understanding employee aspirations

Do we know what our employees within our organization aspire to and need? Listening to them allows us to better understand their expectations and motivations, and therefore favour their retention.

As an example, the concept of career is no longer perceived as before. According to Deloitte Insight, younger generations don’t see themselves staying with the same employer throughout their working life. We therefore see more people reinventing themselves several times during their professional life, and age is no longer a realistic indicator for understanding the challenges and needs of people within an organization.


Leveraging the skills of the team

By getting to know your team members, you become able to identify their individual strengths and cross-functional skills. These are versatile and can be used in more than one context. 

For example, a member of your team with strong communication and coaching skills could be assigned to welcome new employees. Another with a good overview of a given project could be solicited for an opinion on the implementation of a new tool that would affect several departments. 


Create opportunities for multi-generational collaboration and learning

By being proactive and by developing communication tools oriented towards collaboration and learning, you participate in reducing the gap that may exist between generations. 

You could hold interactive trainings on the topic of generational diversity or even create informative segments hosted by employees of various generations.  

It’s also a good idea to set aside several times during the year for team building activities which promote employee dialogue and communication.

By taking a look at generational diversity and focusing on human values, you can strengthen your internal communications. If you’d like to discuss strategies for integrating these concepts into your organization, make an appointment today! 

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