In the average workplace, excluding startups (where the CEO is typically under 30), there is a broad range of generations that need to work collectively on projects. Often, there is a barrier between the different communication styles and this leads to missed calls and unproductive/zero response emails. Which can be detrimental to the project and affect the timeline greatly. We work in a workforce that has the biggest range of generations than ever before and we all have different communication styles that we are most comfortable with.
If I want to invite my cousin in college to our Christmas dinner (which is in 2 months by the way, sorry), I know that if I email her, I will never get a response and she probably won’t even read it. However, if I send her a quick text, she will respond within .5 of a second. On the contrary if I text my father about Christmas dinner (there’s that dreaded reminder again) he most likely won’t even be able to open the text message on his cell phone which sits in the living room not being used. Yet, if I call the house phone, he will pick up first ring and we will have an hour conversation about what he can bring for Christmas (last time, I swear).
So WHY don’t we use this vast knowledge of communication in our personal lives to communicate better with our colleges?
Even though the workplace has drastically transformed, it is still considered inappropriate to text your CEO, but this won’t always be the case. When I worked for a startup company, and the CEO was 28 years of age, we would often discuss entire marketing plans VIA text.
Let’s break down the generations of the workplace and look at the ways each generation typically likes to communicate.
Greatest/Silent Generation – 1901-1945 – Prefers “Face-to-Face” communication.
Baby Boomers – 1946-1960 – Prefers communication over the phone.
Generation X – 1961-1980 – Most comfortable with emailing.
Generation Y (Millennials) – 1981-2000 – Texting or instant messaging is the preferred communication style.
Generation Z (Digitals) – 2001-2020 – This generation hasn’t yet hit the workplace as of yet. However there are a couple of hints on how they like to communicate in their personal lives, which is Face-to-Face OVER video. (Woah, none of us are ready for that! How many of you currently have tape over your laptop camera right now and are shivering in your boots at the thought of being on camera daily).
The great thing about the implementation of workplace transformation and virtual teams, is that Unified Communication and Collaboration tools are most likely already in place at your company. And UCC tools already incorporates ALL of the above ways of communicating to different generations at the click of a mouse or touch of an iPhone. Over the past week I have been communicating with my peers the way they are most comfortable with and it has greatly increased responsiveness and we are able to successfully collaborate on our projects.
Now it’s time to test it, for one week, communicate in the styles that your peers are comfortable with. Let me know how it goes!