Engaging Leader™

195: Engaging Generations part 2 — How to Communicate with Millennials and Gen Z | with JJ Lahey

In case you didn’t already realize it, the people who are graduating college now and entering your workforce are not considered Millennials … they are the next generation, Gen Z (sometimes called Post-Millennials).  And even though Millennials have already driven a significant shift in how people communicate in the workplace, it looks like Generation Z is driving another major shift. As a leader, how do you connect with younger employees … to capture their attention, earn their trust, and inspire them to take action? This episode discusses principles and tips that are effective in this new era of communication. 

Engaging Leader™

194: Engaging Generations part 1 — How Millennials and Gen Z Are Reshaping Workforce Communications | with JJ Lahey

With four very different generations making up today’s workforce, how do you effectively engage them all? In particular, a frequent question we receive is how to communicate with younger employees.

Today’s workforce is made up primarily of four generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Gen Y (also known as Millennials), and Gen Z (sometimes called Post-Millenials). The two younger generations have been driving huge shifts in how people communicate in the workplace. As a leader, how do you connect with younger employees? This episode helps you get started by understanding their values as well as their communication habits and preferences.

Workforce Health Engagement™

WHE30: Millennials and Healthcare: How They Experience the System | with Hector De La Torre

Depositphotos_25725981_s-2015They’re supposedly young and healthy, but a new study shows that more than half of Millennials report having a chronic health condition. In addition, Millennials struggle how to navigate the health care system, starting with choosing an appropriate health plan in the first place.

Engaging Leader™

140: Cross-Generational Communications — How to Bridge the Gap to Engage Multiple Generations

140We are in the early years of a fundamental demographic shift. What worked in the past will no longer be enough. In order to attract and keep top talent — and to influence their actions — you will need to change how you engage people.

Game Changer™

GC35: Enhancing Millennial Performance at Work | with Aaren Terrett


We are in the early years of a fundamental demographic shift. The Millennial generation — which is even larger than the massive Baby Boom generation — now makes up a third of the workforce. As younger millennials continue to graduate from college, their powerful mix of values, communication style, and work perspective is driving a work-culture revolution.

As you lead a team that’s increasingly made up of millennials, understanding their motivators is essential to your success. This is a challenge that Aaren Terrett knows very well, since his organization is made up almost entirely of millennials.


#GenMobile: Bridging the Workforce Generational Gap

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Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers likely all represent a certain percentage of your employees. While diversity adds value, it also presents challenges when trying to effectively engage multiple generations.

Multiple Methods for Multiple Generations

Many factors influence an employee to gravitate toward one communication method over another. The greatest factor is the person’s generation. After all, technology has dramatically changed with each new era.

  • Baby Boomers had a front-row seat to the Television Age, but grew up clacking on typewriters. Most prefer printed newsletters, brochures, fliers, and postcards.
  • Gen Xers came into adulthood just as AOL was telling the world, “You’ve got mail.” An email, or an intranet article or video, will generally hit the spot for them.
  • Millennials can’t remember a time when mobile phones weren’t in every hand. They’ll share this
    article on social media, plus send five text messages to co-workers, in the time it takes me to remember where I left my iPhone.

A multi-channel approach can help cover each of these bases. Use more than one communication method to increase the likelihood that each employee will notice your message. Furthermore, for people to pay attention to your message, it should connect with them at least three times.

Mobile: Now a Top Communication Channel for All Generations

A multi-channel approach improves effectiveness when communicating across generations. One channel that shouldn’t be ignored is mobile, which has become highly popular with all generations. Consider the following:

  • 90% of American adults own a cell phone; 70% own a smartphone.
  • 97% of smartphone owners use text messaging, making it the most widely used phone feature or app — even more than voice calls!
  • Smartphone owners typically send at least one text per hour during waking hours.

This isn’t just a phenomenon among Millennials; studies show it’s a huge trend for all three generations. And it goes beyond texting. In 2013, 85% of people age 18-29 used their phones to search the Internet; so did 73% of people age 30-49, and 51% of people age 50-64.Pablo for GenMobil post

As a Gen Xer myself, I operate best in a multi-channel world. I’m an email ninja, but for long reads I prefer paper or Amazon Kindle. And yet, for timely information,a text catches my attention most effectively.

Mobile engages even my tech-hating uncle. At a wedding recently, I noticed him reading something on a smartphone and expressed my surprise. “Oh, I don’t know how to use it,” he said with a smile. “But I text all the time.”

The Takeaway

For some uses, mobile has already overtaken desktop. For example, 37% of mobile users already use their phone to access HR communications and tools, compared with 23% who use laptops and desktop computers.

Mobile has become a preferred means of communication (and working) for a large and growing percentage of the workforce, across all generations. For some, this preference for mobile is a more significant factor than their generation, prompting Great Place to Work and others to dub this portion of the workforce “generation mobile.”

A multi-channel communications approach is vital to reach the majority of your workforce — and to reach them at least three times to help the message stick. As more people adopt texting as a primary communication tool, it’s important that you add it to your mix.

see and engage– – – –

TRY IT: To see an example of how mobile can support your communication strategy, text the word engage to 31996. (You’ll receive an automated text message within a minute or two, plus occasional updates. Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP anytime to opt out.)

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By Jesse Lahey, with Joe Loya and Kelly Skarritt-Williams. Jesse is the host of the podcasts Engaging Leader and Workforce Health Engagement. Jesse, Joe, Kelly, and their other colleagues at Aspendale Communications help mid-size and large employers attract talent, engage employees, and achieve business results. If you know anyone who would benefit from this information, please share it!




Engaging Leader™

100: Becoming the Boss: New Rules for Gen Y Leaders | with Lindsey Pollak

Becoming the Boss Book CoverWe are in the midst of a leadership revolution, as power passes from Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers to Millennials. All grown up, the highly educated Generation Y is moving into executive positions in corporations and government, as well as running their own businesses, where they are beginning to have a profound impact that will last for decades.

The author of Getting from College to Career has taken a fresh look at career success that shows Gen Y how to make the next step: becoming a leader. Lindsey Pollak’s newest book is Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders.

A writer, speaker, and consultant specializing in next-generation career and workplace advice, Lindsey Pollak is a global spokesperson for LinkedIn and has been featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, the CBS Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, NPR’s Talk of the Nation,,, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications and media.

Pollak QuoteResources Mentioned in This Episode

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

Engaging Leader™

090: How to Bridge the Workplace Generation Gap | with David Maxfield

Crucial AccountabilityCan people of different generations work together productively, or do their differences lead only to conflict? According to a new study from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and social scientist for organizational change David Maxfield, unaddressed tension and resentment between Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials is sapping productivity in corporate America. Specifically, the study showed that more than 1 in 3 people waste five or more hours each week (12 percent of their work week), due to chronic, unaddressed conflict between colleagues from different generations.

The study looked at the three current generations in the workplace: Baby Boomers (age 49 – 57), Gen Xers (age 34 – 48), and Millennials (age 13 – 33). The study revealed the common perceptions and latent resentment each age group has for their colleagues. Specifically:

  • Baby Boomers complain that Gen Xers and Millennials lack discipline, focus, and are distracted. They also think Millennials lack commitment.
  • Gen Xers complain that Baby Boomers display resistant/dogmatic thinking and are sexist, defensive, incompetent, resistant to change, and lacking in creativity. They believe that Millennials are arrogant.
  • Millennials complain that Baby Boomers display resistant/dogmatic thinking, and are sexist, defensive, insensitive, slow to respond, resistant to change, incompetent, and lacking in creativity. They also believe Gen Xers have poor problem-solving skills and are generally slow to respond.

Rather than resolving this through direct communication and accountability, over a quarter of people admitted to avoiding conflict with colleagues of a different age. If they did speak up, they spoke in generalities and danced around the real issues. The study found that:

  • Younger generations hesitate to hold older generations accountable.
  • Millennials are the least confident in their ability to handle a difficult conversation.
  • Older generations, Baby Boomers and Veterans (68 years old or older), admit to losing their temper more easily with more than 1 in 4 saying they became frustrated, upset, or angry during a difficult conversation.

David Maxfield is a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and leading social scientist for organizational change. David says that by learning a few skills to speak up to anyone—regardless of age or authority—people can candidly and respectfully resolve conflict and improve productivity in today’s multigenerational workplace. In this episode, Jesse and David discuss four of the skills from David’s book Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior:

  1. Start with the facts. Describe the “gap.” Describe your concerns facts first. Don’t lead with your judgments about their age or conclusions as to why they behaved the way they did. Start by describing in non-judgmental and objective terms the actual behaviors that create problems.
  2. Make it safe. Begin by clarifying your respect as well as your intent to achieve a mutual goal.
  3. Make it motivating. Help others want to take action.
  4. Agree on a plan and follow up. Gain commitment and move to action.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.