Building a diverse team from varying backgrounds is critical for organizational success, so you can tap into a wide range of perspectives and insights. However, one potential issue that may arise for employers in New Mexico among multi-generational teams is conflicting styles in how different age groups prefer to collaborate.
Learn more about bridging generational communication with these effective strategies for collaborating across age groups:
Solicit Team Input
Although there may be common differences in communication styles and preferences among different age groups on a broader level, that does not mean there is a set rule. It is crucial to not make assumptions or risk stereotyping your employees based on their generation and instead base your strategy on objective information only.
Solicit team input to get everyone in agreement on what is most helpful for effective communication. Ask for feedback on current communication challenges they have faced, as well as their own preferences for communication channels, frequency, and specific usage for different situations (i.e., time-sensitive information vs. status updates). This can give you a baseline to determine how much of a discrepancy there may be between employees and allow you to plan accordingly.
Once you have a clear understanding of your team’s communication preferences and styles, you need to work together to come to a consensus on how to collaborate going forward. Establish expectations for communication as a group and develop an official protocol to ensure everyone understands what would make collaboration as streamlined and constructive as possible. Be as specific as possible and consider expectations related to:
- Response times – i.e., within 24 hours
- Communication platforms – i.e., phone calls are saved for urgent, high-priority inquiries, while chat is used for important but non-urgent questions, and email is for key information, plans, or status updates.
- Boundaries – i.e., when contact is off-limits
- Meeting frequency and setup – i.e., how often to meet, what format and length to be most useful for collaboration
Cultivate a Respectful Culture
You may find there are many major differences between the employees on your multi-generational team, but that can be beneficial for all; however, you must intentionally create a positive environment of aiming to understand and learn from one another. To cultivate a respectful culture, it is crucial to encourage everyone to be open-minded about other perspectives rather than being rigid about their own. Create opportunities for employees to get to know one another and share their experiences, such as formal communication training sessions or informal team meetings with icebreaker questions so they can connect more across age groups.
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