On Friday, May 13, Leadership Resources held its monthly 3% club for clients and guests. The topic of discussion was “generational diversity” and how the differences between the generations cause communication challenges in the workplace.
Patty Marmie was the lead facilitator for this event and set the stage by having people introduce themselves and talk about what they do at their company. She proceeded to ask the group – “what is the definition of a generation?”
What is a generation?
While there was some talk of a generation being 40 years (perhaps that reference was Biblical or historical in nature), Patty’s research presented the definition of a generation in this manner:
A generation is defined as a geographically linked population that experienced similar social and cultural events at roughly the same time in their maturation. Generational change is primarily driven by parenting trends, technology, economics, and life spans. As the pace of change in these things quicken, generations get shorter.”
One participant, a sales and merchandising manager for a locally based grocery store chain, said, “In our stores we have 16-year-olds to 80-year-olds working for us. We have to know to communicate with all ages and do it effectively. I’ve started asking people how they want to be communicated with.”
Preferences of Your Generation
Participants further engaged in discussion about the following questions:
- How do you prefer to receive feedback?
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- What does “hard work” mean to you?
- What barriers have have you experienced in communicating with members of other generations?
- What is one thing you will do to improve communications with members of other generations?
- How will you know if you’ve improved?
A handout was then presented to the group that outlined the general preferences of each generation. The handout was originally produced by Express Personnel.