How CEOs Can Use Technology To Satisfy Every Generation On Their Staff

August 6, 2015 Russ Fradin

The millennial generation will make up the majority of the American workforce this year, and you’ve probably noticed a dramatic evolution of your workflow structure and workplace atmosphere as a result. Rather than resist this transformation, embrace it by updating your communication methods.

Companies can’t thrive without a clear communication structure, and meshing old habits with modern preferences is difficult. While one generation came from an era of whiteboards, phones, faxes, and the dawn of the email age, Millennials prefer to collaborate and communicate through nonverbal digital tech tools like Evernote, Slack, and other mobile and social technologies.

Needless to say, these conflicting methods can fracture company culture, causing costly communication breakdowns, and negatively affect employee engagement and productivity.

The Evolution of Communication

Face-to-face interaction used to be the fundamental driver of successful business communication. Today, however, we can rely on user-friendly, collaborative tech tools to convey our feelings.

Our youngest workers have grown up with smartphones and social media, and many like being able to type and review their thoughts before digitally presenting them. This is the opposite of how older generations were trained to work, and these major differences can lead to wires getting crossed — or even some age-based resentment.

Solving this problem doesn’t involve throwing away your telephones and letting the millennial mindset completely change everything you do. It also doesn’t involve stubbornly resisting new technology and hanging on to old methods.

The solution to the intergenerational communication gap involves a compromise through technology.

How to Bridge the Gap

What do you get when you mix digital technology with human interaction? Social media.

In many cases, it’s worth noting that the techniques preferred by millennials are actually more immediate than methods like phone calls and emails. Take, for example, Slack, the workplace messaging app. The app’s pop-up notifications and ability to sync to mobile phones allow users to instantaneously deliver messages to their teams regardless of location. They don’t have to check inboxes or wait next to phones; a Slack message knows no boundaries.

Social engagement technology is also a useful option for satisfying generational communication quirks. It allows documents to be created in traditional formats while enabling real-time editing and efficient digital distribution. Cloud technology also offers scheduling tools that make it easier than ever for companies to sync.

Lead by Example

So when modifying your company’s communication structure, it’s critical that your entire C-suite also adopts and actively uses these new tools. You need to inspire your employees to follow in your footsteps by showcasing why these changes are for the better.

There’s no avoiding the fact that America’s office culture is evolving. While generations might clash over these differences, it’s important to realize that all of your employees — regardless of their age — are valuable and provide unique perspectives. Don’t alienate one generation while catering to the needs of another. Finding a tech-based communication compromise is key.

New technologies are making internal communications more streamlined than ever. It’s up to you to find the right tools and apply them in a fashion that appeals to every generation

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