- The Veterans or Traditionalists were born before 1946, making them at least 68 years old.
- Baby Boomers, born between 1947 and 1965, are between 49 and 67.
- GenXers, born between 1966 and 1980, are between 34 and 48.
- And then there are the Millennials, who were born after 1980, the oldest of whom are now 33.
A communication divide between generations is probably as old as mankind. Younger generations have always chomped at the bit to take over, to implement their ideas, to be in charge. The older generations, though, have always had superior knowledge, years of experience, and long-developed networks influence, all of which allowed them to take their time giving opportunities and relinquishing power to the next generation.
As hierarchical management styles have given way to today’s flat, egalitarian styles, workers at all levels frequently affect all aspects of organizational culture, including communication styles. Add to that the fact that in today’s workplace, the youngest workers are being courted, catered to, and given management responsibilities very early in their careers. Promotions are most often based on merit, with digital skills, social media prowess, and creative ideas frequently carrying much more weight than real world knowledge, experience, and institutional memory.
As a result, resentments can be simmering under the surface adding another subtle impediment to smooth and open communication.