Multigenerational Communication

Multigenerational Communication
Category - General
by Hillary Bowling on September 7th, 2018

While dissecting the Millennial mindset is an oft-discussed topic, the fact is that each generation has its own unique set of attitudes and behaviors.

If you’re trying to reach today’s multigenerational society, you’re facing an unprecedented challenge: How do you communicate with your increasingly diverse constituency? Let’s take a closer look at each generation’s communications preferences, along with one key strategy for navigating this tricky terrain.

Getting to Know Every Generation

For the first time in American history, the workplace comprises five distinct generations: the Silents, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, the Millennials, and iGen. Each group’s outlook, attitudes, habits and expectations have been shaped by its collective set of experiences and backgrounds. And while intergenerational differences can be seen across everything from money management to housing preferences, perhaps they’re no better highlighted than by how they choose to communicate. The first step in determining a comprehensive communication strategy is identifying generational disparities.

iGen: Born 1996 and later

Millennials: Born 1977 to 1995

Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976

Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964

Silents: Born 1945 and before

Let’s start with the Silent Generation. Made up of 55 million individuals born roughly before 1945, Silents came of age during the Great Depression and are characterized by their ambition, patriotism, and financial attentiveness. Now mostly retired, this generation is known for being extremely cautious, loyal and team-minded. While many prefer face-to-face and phone interactions, they have also amped up email usage in recent years. 70% of internet users over 65 now use the internet every day.

The massive Baby Boomer Generation, consisting of roughly 76 million people is known for its creativity and opposition to authority. Like their preceding generation, the Silents, Baby Boomers are known for their keen relationship skills and prefer more “personal” interactions, including face-to-face and telephone contact. However, Baby Boomers have also been quick to adapt digital in recent years, including everything from email to texting. Baby Boomers on average spend 27 hours online every week.

Following the Baby Boomers comes Generation X. While widely viewed as “slackers,” (Reality Bites, anyone?) this comparatively pint-sized generation of 50 million are known for their independence, informality, and distrust of rules. They’re also the first generation to be at ease with technology which explains their love for communicating via all things electronic.

The mighty 80-million Millennials. This group now makes up the largest segment of the American labor pool. They are known for their optimistic attitudes and “sharing” culture. Cell phone and the internet began to be widely adopted as this group grew up.

Lastly, we have iGen. According to Forbes, this generation makes up 25% of the U.S. population, making them a larger generation than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. They’re the first generation to have Internet technology readily available at an early age. They have completely grown up in the technological world, with computers, smart phones, tablets, WIFI, and social media as an inherent part of their existence. On average, iGen spends 6 to 8 hours a day of their leisure time on their phones texting and posting to social media. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that this technology-dependent generation prizes instant access when it comes to how they communicate.

Bridging the Gap with Multimodal Messaging

Growth is a necessary part of organizational wellness, but it also presents new challenges—particularly when it comes to communicating with the changing demographics of your team. And while a successful communication strategy can go a long way toward advancing your mission and engaging your constituents a poor communication strategy can have an opposite—and unwanted—effect. Unfortunately, the latter is an all-too-common issue for many organizations which fall victim to two common pitfalls: inundating constituents with unnecessary or irrelevant content and using inadequate or unreliable communication methods to deliver your message. The matter is further complicated by the fact that—as discussed earlier—terms like “unnecessary,” “irrelevant,” “inadequate,” and “unreliable” are largely subjective depending on a person’s background.

Ultimately, how we communicate is a critical component in nurturing relationships. Can the different generations be optimally served by a single method of communications? Probably not. But they can be served by a savvy communication strategy: multimodal messaging.

Think of it this way: How can you simultaneously satisfy a Silent generation member who prefers to communicate via telephone and may not even have a cell, with an iGen who strongly prefers to communicate via social media and texting and for whom a phone call may be an annoyance?

The answer may be simpler than you realize. Rather than trying to please all the generations through one approach, employ a multimodal strategy which defers to the individual needs of each.

The One Call Now Solution

Leading mass notification provider One Call Now offers a savvy solution for organizations looking to more meaningfully meet the needs of their constituents. Rather than delivering your message through a one-size-fits-all approach and hoping it makes its way to the intended recipients, One Call Now guarantees optimal delivery outcomes by letting recipients determine exactly how they’ll receive a message. These preferences—including voice calls, text messages, email, and social media—are pre-set into the One Call Now system to ensure prompt and accurate receipt.

But One Call Now’s functionality doesn’t end there. In these busy times, we all know how it feels to have our time wasted on matters which may not directly concern us. One Call Now also lets you target specific groups to receive certain messages. Not only does this save time and energy on the sending and the receiving end, but it also boosts engagement by ensuring that only relevant information is conveyed.

The takeaway? While intergenerational management is complex, getting your message across—in the most literal sense—doesn’t have to be. In enlisting the aid of One Call Now as part of your comprehensive communications strategies, you ensure that your messages are delivered to the multigenerational members of your organization in the most efficient, effective way.

To learn how easily and affordably the One Call Now solution can be implemented into your communication plan, click the button below.

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