Intergenerational Communication: How to Embrace the New Era

February 21, 2013

Attend the Intergenerational Communication workshop at CWB's Second Annual Summit.

Look around at your next staff meeting. Who are you sitting next to? Do you notice anything different? Chances are, you detect a distinct change in the age range of your colleagues. With the arrival of the Millennial generation, for the first time, four generations exist together in the workplace.


Why does this matter? A new era equals new challenges. On top of communication obstacles, the looming retirement of the largest percentage of the workforce, the Baby Boomers, coupled with the small supply of Gen-Xers, leaves many companies questioning—who will fill their leadership roles?

What is the current environment? Many organizations have increased attention on Millennials, creating opportunities to further their leadership development and expand their roles.  With communication hurdles now unavoidable, companies are also seeking an organizational culture that acknowledges and supports the range of generational differences.


How does your company measure up? Some companies are ahead of the game.  In an Executive Briefing Series covering the roles of Millennials in the workplace, the Boston College Center for Work and Family examined and highlighted “Best Practices” by certain organizations determined to make the most of the situation. Sodexo was one that has already stepped up to the plate.  Offering social media training, intergenerational mentoring roundtables and networking with colleagues, Career Management training and an Emerging Leaders program, Sodexo is leveraging the advantages of developing their rising stars as well as collaborating across generations.


What “Best Practices” can you adopt? Embrace the new era. A company or a leader that can capitalize on the strengths of each generation is one that will ultimately see the most success.

  • Remember, while each generation has its own characteristics, many similarities still exist. 
  • Manage by understanding what is most valued by each generation and each individual employee.
  • Motivate through individually tailored messages, additional opportunities and overall company practices that welcome generational distinctions.

Join the discussion! Participate in the "Intergenerational Communication" workshop on February 28 at the CWB Annual Summit, led by The Communication Center’s Executive Communication Coach Nan Tolbert. This highly-interactive workshop focuses on the priorities and values each generation possesses.  Don’t miss out—understanding the motivating factors of each generation will promote productivity and collaboration in your organization.


Jenny Strathern is Marketing Coordinator at The Communication Center.