In the next two years, millennials are expected to take the reins from Baby Boomers as the largest living adult population in the U.S. With past generations, this milestone was marked by one generation leaving the workforce and another filling the void. However, the current economic climate and the still-lingering effects of the national recession are leading to an increased number of Baby Boomers choosing to delay retirement and work longer – painting a less than traditional picture as this transition plays out. As a result, our nation’s workforce is becoming increasingly multigenerational, with many organizations reporting employee ages that range from 19 to 70. As this workforce configuration becomes the norm, it will be critical for companies to utilize strategic communication to bridge the generational divide and blend the workforce into a cohesive unit.
While a multigenerational workforce offers opportunity, it also brings with it generational differences in experience, workstyle, values, education and technological familiarity. Baby Boomers are traditionalists with a looser grip on technology and a stricter compensation-driven, 9- to-5 view of the workplace. Millennials are technological masters that prize flexibility and fulfillment.
Effective communicators excel at evaluating and producing messages that adapt to differing situations and audiences. This will be an essential skill set as companies embrace changing technology and must work to ensure all employees are brought up to speed and are on the same page.
Communication professionals are also masters of persuasion and conflict resolution, which will become critical in an effort to blend the exceptionally different workstyles and priorities of a multi-generational workforce. Such tasks require the finesse, compromise, and clear, concise communication that only a communication professional can bring to the table.
With training in conflict management, interviewing, negotiation, public speaking, small group and organizational communication, graduates will enjoy an abundance of career opportunities in a variety of fields. Many communication graduates will partner with organizations to bridge generational workforce divides and create strong and profitable modern workplaces.
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