Know your audience. That statement that has been ingrained into our brains since the first time we learned about communication. It means knowing audience demographics, the communication tools they use and how their jobs, colleagues, community and media influences a message.
We now have five generations in the workforce. Veterans are 70 to 88 years old (think Clint Eastwood. Baby boomers are 52 to 65; Denzel Washington is one. Generation X is 37 to 51 years old; Angelina Jolie falls in this category. Millennials are 20 to 36 years of age; Taylor Swift is one. Generation Z is babies born today to 19 years old; think David Mazouz.
You may have noticed there are a lot of articles are focused on millennials. It is true they are the up and comers in organizations, but for the most part they still only make up just over a third of the workforce in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center. The same is true for Canada, according to Statistics Canada. Baby boomers are still going strong in the workforce, opting to stay at work instead of retire. Gen Xers are continuing to look for opportunities to move up as senior level positions become available. And, depending on your organization, you may still have some Veterans left in the workforce and/or Gen Z beginning their careers.
What does this mean for communication? We often hear about “generations colliding” in the workplace, implying conflict. Communicators can help to instill a positive culture in an organization when it comes to messaging, how we communicate and what we focus on in our communication, especially for baby boomers, Gen X and millennials.