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Embracing Intergenerational Communication In The Office

Kamber Parker works with organizations to improve communication and culture across the five generations of the workforce.  Are you addressing intergenerational communication?  Are you Communicating with FINESSE?
Kamber Parker works with organizations to improve communication and culture across the five generations of the workforce.

70% of young professionals (21-39 years old) express frustration when working with experienced professionals. The same can be said on the other side, when asking experienced professionals (40+ years old) how they communicate with young professional talent. The key is to embrace intergenerational communication.

The Heart of the Issue

Communication and understanding are at the root of this issue and it’s a factor that contributes to young professionals leaving businesses in droves today - and yes, even during what some have called “an end to the Great Resignation”.

The reality is this: even during a recession or the “end” of the Great Resignation, young professionals will leave if they don’t feel valued, engaged, or loyal to your company.

Young Professionals

In my work with businesses across the country, I often hear comments like “Our young people don’t respect us”, or “They don’t seem to work hard, so it’s difficult for us to work with them.”

Young professionals typically mention that they “struggle to get their older counterparts to listen or trust them”, or they “don’t feel that experienced professionals want to engage with them.”

To prepare the young leaders of our workforce, all working generations need to come together to learn how to communicate better to create a stronger culture.

Solutions for Intergenerational Communication

The first step in communicating better is to identify how different generations communicate and how they look ahead

While experienced generations embraced face-to-face communication at the start of their careers, young professionals are turning to different ways of communication and defining it in completely new ways. As a generation of digital natives, it is preferred by young professionals to communicate through technology first, and face-to-face second.

The fix? Here are our solutions for your teams that are looking to skill up your Intergenerational Communication.

1. Consider getting your leadership team together and discuss the specific behaviors of the multiple working generations in your office; you probably have a few different ones represented in that room and a good old-fashioned strategy and plan wouldn’t hurt.

2. Offer a section in your onboarding for young professional employees that establishes communication right away with coworkers from various generations so they don’t immediately stick to the other young professionals in the office.

3. Embrace mentoring. Pair up an experienced professional with a young professional that is not necessarily a new employee.

4. Empower your team by educating them on what we like to call “Understanding 101”. Utilize your resources - whether that is through a third party or your own HR team - to train your employees of all generations on how to communicate with others in the workplace.

Putting It Into Action

Poor communication between generations can have lasting impacts on your business, and it is a problem that has a solution. We know communication is hard and it’s something our workforce has been talking about for decades. The fix? Starting by digging deep into the behaviors that we know and how we can use that to control how we communicate with each other.

The first step in solving this is awareness. As company leaders, consider discussing this topic – if you are not already – with your HR team and determine the best steps for moving forward. Remember – this will not happen immediately, but small steps today can have big impacts tomorrow.


Kamber Parker is a young professional and the founder of The YoPro Know, a firm dedicated to helping organizations improve their intergenerational culture and build their workforce pipeline with external candidates and develop young professionals into future leaders. Get a free copy of her report, “The State of Young Professionals Today.”


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