Skip to content
JPL

Today, people consume news and information in any manner they want. Whether that is scrolling Facebook or Instagram, setting up news alert push notifications, receiving email delivery of daily news briefs, listening to a podcast or maintaining trust in traditional methods, such as watching the morning show or reading a physical newspaper delivered to your front door, or a hybrid approach to these channels — it’s completely up to the individual.

Just as people get to decide how to take in news and information in their personal lives, the same concept must be applied in the workplace. Communicators must offer people information they need to do their jobs in ways that they want to consume.

With most workplaces seeing up to five different generations in their workforces, a single-channel, push approach will not satisfy most employees’ communication preferences. Instead, communicators should consider generational preferences and audience profiles to deliver messages that will cut through the clutter and be received.

Let’s take a deeper look at the five generations in the workplace:

Five generations in the workplace

Traditionalists (born 1945 and before)

This generation values respect and loyalty. They cherish wisdom and like to be kept in the know.

Communication Preferences

Icon - Face to Face

face-to-face

Icon - Personal Touch

personal touches

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)

The Boomer generation is typically more reserved and professional, but competitive and disciplined. They value work ethic and like to be acknowledged for their experience. They appreciate having background and context.

Communication Preferences

Icon - Face to Face

face-to-face

Icon - Formal

formal

Icon - Target

direct

Icon - Phone

phone

Icon - Email

email

Gen X (born 1965-1980)

X’ers are known as a resourceful and efficient generation. They value transparency, flexibility and independence and appreciate a work-life balance.

Communication Preferences

Icon - Shoe

informal

Icon - Flexible

flexible

Icon - Text

text

Icon - Phone

phone

Icon - Email

email

Icon - Professional Etiquette

maintain professional etiquette

Millennials (born 1981-1996)

Millennials love collaboration. They are experience-driven and innovative, and value integrity and speed. They are achievement-oriented and desire a fun work-life balance.

Communication Preferences

Icon - Text

text

Icon - Chats

chats

Icon - Email

email

Icon - Digital

digital

Icon - Speedy

authentic & speedy

Gen Z (born 1997-2012)

Gen Z is pragmatic and inquisitive. This generation values stability and personality as well as equality. They want opportunities to be self-directed.

Communication Preferences

Icon - Face to Face

face-to-face

Icon - Transparent

transparent

Icon - Visual

highly visual

Icon - Video

video

Icon - Mobile

mobile-only approach

Communicating with Multiple Generations

Communication teams must recognize that each generation brings unique needs, ways of learning, preferences and experiences to the table. The only way to understand what’s most important to your employees is through conversation. Seek to understand what matters to each employee and the channels they prefer when receiving company communications.

Generational preferences and differences should be embraced as an opportunity for diversity in opinions and experiences that contribute to a richer workplace culture. Together, an organization can have a well-rounded workforce that leverages the strengths of each generation to better face challenges.

Are you interested in understanding the communication preferences of each of your workplace generational audience groups? At JPL we can help audit your internal communications programs, identifying best practices and areas for improvement, while developing audience profiles to guide your strategic communications. Drop us a note at [email protected].

Note: The above article highlights generational attributes, traits and preferences. These points are not meant to infer stereotypes about each group, but rather characterizations of each generation to help provide informed direction on how to connect and communicate. These attributes do not apply to each individual in a generation.

Resources:

https://hbr.org/2021/08/how-to-manage-a-multi-generational-team

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/336275/things-gen-millennials-expect-workplace.aspx

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/

JPLRelentless Evolution™

Harrisburg

471 JPL Wick Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17111

NYC

One Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10119

Philly

One Roberts Avenue
Glenside, PA 19038