The one thing Gen-X, Millennials, & Gen-Z need for effective workplace communication

Angelie Rasmussen, student at Utah Valley University

I’m 20 years old, right at the borderline between the Millennial and Gen-Z generations. This gives me an interesting vantage point from which to assess the recent paradigm shift younger generations are bringing to the workplace.

Millennials are now the largest generation of workers in the U.S. labor force, and I’ve seen firsthand how we change corporate culture. Today’s employees expect workplaces to care more about our well-being than in years past.

At Capsule, we surveyed a broad range of respondents. 80% said they would be more interested in working for a company that offered developmental training like ours. To an employee, it says, “We’re taking a proactive approach because we care about you and your success here.” That feels good.

But, today’s definition of wellness is also broader than it used to be. At my previous job, we were given a “wellness hour” each day. While prior generations were taught to “leave personal problems are the door,” today’s employees seek out colleagues for dating advice or dieting tips. We’re getting married later, meaning a lot of single (and soon-to-be stressed) happy-hour enthusiasts. Today, professional development and personal development go hand-in-hand. That’s why Capsule’s core curriculum covers both.

Ideally, trust and care creates a healthier work environment and encourages people to better collaborate and perform. However, are the perks currently in place really pulling their weight?

A friend of mine works at a major company where resting areas and life-sized chess tournaments are the norm. He’s found that these resources often distract rather than support employee productivity. Many play and rest throughout the day, completing tasks at a slower pace, and going home later. They’re often more of a Band-Aid for root issues like weak communication skills.

The company my husband works for is employee-owned. If there’s an emergency, employees leave. If they’re sick, they stay home—there’s no allotted number of days off. This “asking your teacher for a hall pass” mentality is leaving the workplace, necessitating increased communication to establish trust in employees’ productivity, competence, and motivation. Implementing a vacation policy without established norms could very well backfire.

So, that’s the argument for structure. But, there’s also the problem of cultural empathy. Some of my millennial and Gen-Z friends feel Gen-X doesn’t take them seriously.

Older generations have expressed that the younger generation needs to grow up and get off their phones. Participation trophies and fun-filled work environments don’t help this counter this sentiment.

A major difference between the generations is dependency. Gen-X is known to be a more hands-off generation. They’re often okay working alone and grinding out a task. Millennials are known to need more attention, direction, praise, feedback, and variety.

In addition, traditional, face-to-face communication skills are crucial yet seemingly lacking in younger generations. We easily get distracted (and offended). If we have to hear about how hard you had it and how easy we have it one more time, we’re going to turn our AirPods back on.

But, there’s hope.

Capsule’s survey also showed that employees took training recommendations most seriously if they came from employers. This was selected above recommendations from friends or professors! Companies have immense clout. They just need to use it well. This could involve working with Capsule to support self-development at your alma mater as part of corporate giving. Or, it could be as simple as using Capsule as part of your on-boarding training for new hires.

Getting a group of individuals to work, communicate, and grow together–despite generational gaps–takes mindful effort and practice. Research shows that adopting techniques for effective communication, conflict management, and understanding employee values can help bridge this gap.

Here’s where Capsule fits in. We created a workplace training that aligns with the short attention spans of Millennials. High-engagement digital learning is paired with in-person practice to both use technology and move us away from it, back into the real world.

Capsule encompasses all areas of health for comprehensive personal and professional growth. And, it helps bridge the literacy and empathy gap across generations.

First, understand your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors to become more self-aware.

Then, learn how to gain more empathy and appreciation for your teammates. During Capsule Crews, you’ll have a chance to exercise effective communication in a group setting.

Our program isn’t meant just for managers. We’re meant for the whole organization to get on the same page. Decrease misunderstandings and increase productivity. Gain the soft skills to better connect with those around you.

Self-development and team-development are one and the same with Capsule. Learn more are

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