Communicating with Different Generations in the Workplace

Last updated: 2020-07-024 min read time
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As of 2020, we can see Baby-boomers, Generation X, millennials and Generation Z all working together, side-by-side, and it’s this latest group – Gen Z - who will change the way we interact in the workplace.

The question every employer is wondering is how they can communicate in a way that connects with and motivates each generation. To answer this question, first, let’s look at each generation and what characterizes them.

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

Baby-boomers (1945-1964) generation-babyboomers

are optimists with a willingness to work hard. Baby boomers are job market veterans who crave stability above all else.


Generation X (1964-1984) generation-x

make up the majority of employees today. With their young family years behind them, they now focus on their careers. They are ambitious and value work-life balance benefits.

Millennials and Generation Z (1985-)generations-millennials

are both digital-natives whose mobile devices come before anything else. Generation Z needs a clear line between work and free time, whereas millennials don’t require any such boundaries.

One Size Fits All. Or Does It?

When it comes to benefits and communication, one size does not fit all. By learning how to communicate with each of the different generations in your workplace, you can connect with your employees more effectively, thus, create higher engagement.

Take time to think about the appropriate way to communicate with each generation. Is it in-person, via telephone or via email? Do recipients prefer text messages, social media or other forms of communication? Baby-boomers, for example, appreciate traditional face-to-face-meetings while millennials enjoy email. Millennials are digital-natives and are specialists in SnapChat and, therefore, likely prefer short messages.

However, if you think millennials and Gen Z have the same preferences, think again. Despite being the first generation born with a smartphone in their hand and without any knowledge of a world before smartphones, a Randstad survey found that 39 per cent of Generation Z say in-person communication is the most effective form. explains that while Gen Z “value the ability of technological advancements to increase productivity and help them complete tasks, workers in younger generations still see the value in human contact when it comes to collaboration and management.” 


Target Your Message

In order to engage your employees and create an outstanding employee experience, understanding generational communication preferences is essential. How do you find out what each employee or each generation’s preferences are? Why not survey employees and ask them what their communication preferences are? Is it text message, in-portal messages, email?

Another effective way of finding out your employees’ communication preferences is to A/B test using different channels, and then measure the engagement and open rates. Benify’s market-leading benefits and total rewards platform – accessible via desktop or an app - helps you engage every employee by communicating the right message through the right channel.

Targeted communication allows you to adapt your content to a specific audience. The message is sent only to the targeted recipients. With the help of different filters, your email, push notification, or message can, for example, be sent to everyone with access to a particular benefit, everyone in a specific age category, or everyone who works within a particular region.

Looking for more communication tips? Download our whitepaper, An Employer’s Guide to Effective Communication