Using Employee Communication to Reach a Multi-Generational Workforce

By MTM Recognition

Ernst and Young report that 75% of managers say that managing a multi-generational workforce is a challenge. Furthermore, managers find formulating messages that are relevant to every generation to be a difficult task.  Since every generation has a unique DNA, how do you bridge the gap? We were able to sit down with workplace psychologist, Brandon Smith, to find our answer.

Understanding generational differences

In order to have success in reaching each generation within the workforce, different strategies will have to be put into place. While analyzing how to address each group, take into consideration generational preferences and behaviors. For example, to contact your team, a Baby Boomer would prefer to be notified in person while a millennial prefers an email or instant message. 
In addition to connecting with your generations, it’s extremely important to pay attention to how each generation likes to be rewarded and shown appreciation.

  • Boomers: Because Boomers are more traditional in nature, they prefer a more classic approach like a “Years of Service” award. As a result of preferring personal communication, they also appreciate peer-to-peer
  • Generation X: This generation is a little more distrustful and skeptic of authority. To show appreciation and recognition, use “on-the-spot” recognition. By using this method, you’re showing a leader is noticing them and what they need. This helps to build a level of trust between the manager and employee.
  • Millennials and Generation Y: These generations are very tech savvy and feeling like a part of a bigger community is very important to them. To recognize a member of this generation, use social recognition. 

Create an Employee Communication Plan

After you’ve identified your generations and bridged the gap between age groups, you’re ready to create an employee communication plan. While writing your plan, here are a few tips to guide you along:

  • Stay consistent in your execution and ensure your strategies support one another.
    Change initiatives typically fail under people who send inconsistent messages. The biggest weakness in an organization is when a leader gets caught up in what he/she is doing and forgets to communicate with the rest of the team. Keep communicating your visions and strategies with your teams.
  • Be transparent.
    Leaders need to operate in vulnerability and transparency. You need to have enough courage to admit faults or problems your business has run into and invite your peers to help problem-solve.
  • Find a way to get your message out to everyone at the same time.
    Even if you’re using different platforms to relay a message, all employees should be notified at the same time.
  • Be authentic.
    Engage with your audience. Rather than reading a scripted message from your notecard, brief over your bullet points and open the discussion up for questions.
  • Be relatable.
    Millennials and Gen Z want to feel like they’re being talked to as an equal and that their voice really matters. Find ways to make the interaction feel more like a two-sided conversation, rather than a one-sided message.
  • Make sure the message you’re trying to send out is relevant to everyone you are speaking to.

Regardless of the generational group you’re addressing, everybody wants to come into a workplace where they feel welcome and the atmosphere is positive. If you have questions about recognizing the multi-generational workforce, talk with the Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers, we’d love to help out!

Keywords: generational differences, employee communication, generation gap, generational workforce, multi-generation, communication plan, effective communication, baby boomers, generation x, millennials, generation y