Four tips for effective communication in a diverse workforce
Use multiple communication channels.
How well do you know your employee’s communication preferences? While older members of the workforce, Baby Boomers and Generation X, often prefer talking by telephone, email, or face-to-face, Millennials are more likely to respond to digital channels and push services, such as instant messaging and texting via mobile devices. In a multigenerational workforce, focusing too heavily on one channel can present a risk of alienating a large number of employees, so a multi channel strategy based on employee preferences is the way to effective communication in the workplace.
Tailor your approach to the individual
In order to maximise communication efforts across several generations of staff, a personal approach to understanding what works best for individual employees can pay dividends. There is plenty of research into generational behaviours and preferences, but nothing beats approaching people directly and asking them how they would like their company to communicate with them, and then obliging by using their preferred communication method.
Communicating company expectations
Regardless of age or gender, employers need to communicate clearly how all employees can contribute to the success of the company and be productive. They can do this by building diverse working groups or teams based around a project or business objective setting out clear expectations of what needs to get done and when, while encouraging individuals within those groups to identify their strengths and be aware of their differences in order to reach the desired outcome.
Maintain inter-generational harmony
In organisations with four or five generations of employees working together, employers need to be aware of generational tension; often the result of a lack of respect for or understanding of someone who is of a different generation from you among colleagues. As part of an effective communication strategy, employees from different age groups should be encouraged to recognise and appreciate that they have different skillsets and different ideas, that individually and as a team, bring value to the organisation.