The Relationship Between Adaptability and Age
Multiple generations in your workforce can create challenges around communication, especially when communication is now remote and dependent on technology. How many generations do you have in your workforce? Have pandemic-driven changes made you curious about the relationship between adaptability and age?
We define the generational segments, their willingness to adapt, and their comfort level of technology and communication in the following way:
- Traditionalists: For the most part they are Foreigners in a Foreign Land when it comes to technology. They prefer communication face to face, in-person and adapting to new technology (like video conferencing) may prove overwhelming.
- Baby Boomers: They can be described as Digital Immigrants. They have adapted quickly to technology, albeit with some struggle. They know to keep up with younger generations, they need to be willing to adapt. Their preferred method of communicating is usually by phone or in person.
- Gen X: We refer to them as the Second Generation of Immigrants in the digital age. They weren’t born with the all the technology available today, but it was introduced to them at a young age and they know the language. New technology is second nature at this point. Email is their go-to communication option.
- Millennials: Essentially, they are Digital Natives. Technology has been a part of their lives from birth and they are able to adapt to the “newest” and best when offered to them. Their preferred communication is text and instant messaging.
- Gen Z (Zoomers): What about Gen Z? If Millennials are Digital Natives, what does that make Zoomers? Let’s call them Womb Zoomers: born with a cell phone in their hand. They prefer to communicate through social media platforms and FaceTime.
How are you acknowledging and supporting each generation as it adapts? We recommend that managers demonstrate empathy and use these questions during touchbase meetings with employees:
- What is your preferred communication method?
- When some or all of us are remote, what challenges do you personally experience?
- Which of our technology solutions do you enjoy using? How did you learn to use this solution?
Be sure to keep as many communication channels open as possible when managing remote teams.
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