Posted by: Jeri Denniston | August 3, 2008

Communication Across Generations

For the first time in the history of the United States, we have four distinct generations working side by side in organizations:

  • Silents (Born between 1925 and 1946)

  • Baby Boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964)

  • Generation Xers (Born between 1965 and 1980)

  • Generation Ys or Millennials (born after 1980)

Each group has its own distinct characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work, based on its generation’s life experiences. To successfully integrate these diverse generations into the workplace, companies will need to embrace radical changes in recruitment, benefits, and creating a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for its multigenerational work force. *

Add to these challenges, the swift pace of change in the world around us, and it’s no wonder leaders are having a hard time just treading water to stay afloat. Taking a holistic approach to managing change will help. One place to start is by scanning the external world to identify current threats and opportunities. Then evaluate your strengths and weaknesses across seven categories to assess your organizational capacity to manage change and identify areas for improvement. Challenges in areas, such as communicating across the generations, will show up as you conduct this exercise.

Then you can begin to put an operational plan in place to address the changes that are needed to ensure the entire organization is swimming in the same direction, focused on the same future goal.


* source: Jim Jenkins, Leading the Four Generations at Work, American Management Association.

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