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  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 1

    Bridging the Generation Gap Communicating and Collaborating in a Multigenerational Workplace

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 2

    About Me

    Melissa Henley Director of Customer Experience Laserfiche @ECM_marketeer

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 3Bridging the Generation Gap| 3

    01 Why Multigenerational Communication Matters

    02 The Technology Generation Gap

    03 Communication Techniques that Work

    04 Three Ways Technology Can Unite a Multigenerational Workforce

    05 Takeaways and Q&A

    What We’ll Cover Today

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 4

    Why Multigenerational Communication


  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 5

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 6

    Five Generations Working Together

    Silent Generation (1928-1945)

    Boomers (1946-1965)

    Gen X (1966-1980)

    Millennials (1981-1996)

    Gen Z (1997-2009)

    2% Age in 2020: 75+

    25% Age in 2020: 55-74

    33% Age in 2020: 40-54

    35% Age in 2020: 24-39

    5% Age in 2020: 19-23

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 7

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 8

    Characteristics Silent Generation Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials Gen Z

    Transformative Experiences

    • Second World War • Rationing • Rock ‘n’ Roll • Nuclear families

    • Cold War • “Swinging Sixties” • Apollo Moon landings • Woodstock • Rise of the teenager

    • End of the Cold War • Fall of the Berlin Wall • Reagan/Gorbachev • Challenger explosion • Latch-key kids

    • 9/11 terrorist attacks • Social media • Invasion of Iraq • Reality TV • Google

    • Climate change • Energy crisis • Arab Spring • Self-produced media • Wikileaks • COVID-19

    Aspiration Home ownership Job security Work-life balance Freedom and flexibility Security and stability

    Attitude toward technology

    Largely disengaged Early IT adopters Digital immigrants Digital natives

    “Technoholics” – entirely dependent on

    technology, limited grasp of alternatives

    Attitude toward career

    My job is for life My career is defined by

    my employer I’m loyal to my profession,

    but not my employer I work “with” my

    organization, not for it Career multitasker

    Signature product Automobile Television Personal computer Tablet/smartphone Amazon Echo, 3-D

    printing, driverless car

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 9

    It’s Easy to Stereotype. Don’t Do It.

    •Age isn’t the only factor that impacts communication

    •Consider industry, corporate culture, gender differences

    •Don’t automatically default to the negative

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    Strategies to Consider

    •Don’t underestimate the importance of relationship building

    • Encourage staff to discuss differences and learn from each other

    •Don’t assume, explain!

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    Communication Techniques that


  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 12Bridging the Generation Gap | 12

    The Communication Disconnect

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    • Let’s have an in-person conversation

    • Respectful • Formal • Letterhead, handwritten

    note, memo


    • Call me on my cell • Step into my office • In person • Phone calls • Semi-formal

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    GEN X

    • Send me an email • Irreverent • Call me only at work … but

    don’t leave me a voicemail, I’ll never listen to it

    • Direct and immediate


    • Text me • Informal • Social media • Don’t send me email, I

    won’t read it

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 15

    GEN Z

    • Snap me • Meme culture • TikTok, Snapchat • Born digital • Activist

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 16

    Types of Business Communication

    Internal Upward

    From a subordinate to a manager

    Internal Downward

    From a manager to a subordinate

    Internal Lateral

    Between peers or colleagues

    External To customers or

    citizens outside the organization

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 17

    Build an Arsenal of Communication Techniques

    Silent Generation (1928-1945)

    Boomers (1946-1965)

    Gen X (1966-1980)

    Millennials (1981-1997)

    Prefer formal communication

    Try one-on-one Be direct; balance the

    professional and personal Use technology

    (text, emails, social media)

    Gen Z (1997-2009)

    Meet in-person; they want to be taken seriously

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 18Bridging the Generation Gap | 18

    Don’t Forget Authenticity

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 19Bridging the Generation Gap | 19


    •Develop – and document – ground rules

    • Establish email guidelines

    •Understand individual team members’ preferences

    •Offer regular technology training to employees, regardless of generation

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 20

    The Technology Generation Gap

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 21Bridging the Generation Gap | 21

    Tech is Key to Attracting Talent

    • Technology = flexibility

    •71% of millennials say tech influences whether or not they take a job

    •80% of Gen Z want to work with cutting-edge tech

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    But Tech Use Differs Between Generations

    • 92% of Millennials own smartphones, compared with 85% of Gen Xers and 67% of Baby Boomers

    • Younger generations prefer smaller screen sizes, while Gen X and Boomers own more desktops and tablets

    • 65% of Millennials and Gen Z interact more with each other online than they do in the real world

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 23Bridging the Generation Gap | 23

    The Technology Generation Gap

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 24Bridging the Generation Gap | 24

    Generational Work Preferences

  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 25

    Defining Communication Channels

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    Three Ways Technology Can Unite a Multi- Generational


  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 27Bridging the Generation Gap | 27


    • Technology can’t replace personal contact

    •Don’t overlook the benefit of training (especially multi- generational mentoring)

    • For success, your corporate culture must support the goal of any technology

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    •Collaboration technology should be a part of business processes

    •Helps older workers document and transfer knowledge

    • Shows younger worker how they fit into the bigger picture

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    •All generations appreciate the flexibility of being able to work remotely

    • Think about how tech can help: video conferencing, chat, collaboration tools, project management software, workflow automation, web forms, etc.

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  • Bridging the Generation Gap| 31Bridging the Generation Gap| 31


    •Don’t overuse technology. It should solve problems – not create new ones

    • Technology needs to support HR policies, not do the heavy lifting

    •Be open to new ideas from employees of all ages/roles

  • Get in touch!

    Melissa Henley @ECM_marketeer