With more than 50 million workers today, the Millennials or those who reached adulthood at the turn of the 21st century now comprise the largest generation in the US workforce. More Millennials are expected to join the workforce in the coming years, while the older generation such as Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers continue to age.
However, this doesn’t mean that the older generations are ready to give up their place in the workforce yet. After all, members of the Generation X now occupy senior positions. Baby Boomers, meanwhile, remain active players in the workforce with participation rate of the generation near its highest levels in years.
Communicating with different generations thus pose a challenge to the corporate communications team. After all, there are lots of differences in the communication styles that each generation is used to. The older Baby Boomers prefer phone calls and emails; the Generation X workers send text messages, while the Millennials are used to instant messages and tweets.
Corporate communicators thus have to think of different corporate communications strategies in order to reach out and effectively communicate with each generation. The following are some corporate communications strategies that can be adapted in companies with a cross-generational workforce:
1. Use different communication channels. Most companies usually rely on a single corporate communication channel in disseminating information to the rest of the employees. Some strictly use e-mail, while others rely on traditional means such as group meetings.
But using different communication tools is one of the best ways to communicate effectively with a cross-generational workforce. Making the same message available in different formats such as e-mail, instant messaging, Intranet, corporate newsletter, and corporate broadcasts would ensure that everyone in the organization will receive the message.
2. Meet up regularly. While in-person meetings have become more and more difficult in a world where telecommuting is almost the norm, corporate communicators should still push for this traditional way of communicating with officemates.
In-person meetings can make people of different ages work together. These meetings can be the perfect venue for each generation to educate each other about their own history, milestones, norms, and culture. Activities that can bring in shared values of each generation can be planned for these in-person meetings.
3. Facilitate mentoring. This is one of the best corporate communications strategies that HR and the corporate communications group can institutionalize in the office. Mentoring between different aged workers should encourage more interaction. Younger employees will learn from the experience and wisdom of their seniors, while older employees will pick up new ideas and fresh perspectives from the younger employees.
4. Consider a recognition program. Senior employees aren’t old to receive recognition. In fact, they’ll appreciate an award for being productive or being loyal to the institution. Millennials, meanwhile, will appreciate a simple validation of their work like an office-wide memo or even a simple feature on the company newsletter.
5. Keep them engaged. Keeping the employees engaged will go a long way towards ensuring that the workforce is focused in helping achieve corporate goals.
There are many ways to keep the employees engaged. The conduct of employee engagement surveys can measure the levels of employee engagement, and get suggestions from the workers themselves.
Providing regular training opportunities and career advice, on the other hand, are best suited to Millennials who are ambitious and driven.
These are just some of the corporate communications strategies that companies can adapt in communicating with a cross-generational workforce. The conduct of these strategies can aid in boosting employee engagement, and spur more productivity in the workplace.