For the first time, there are 5 generations in the workplace; from Traditionalists born before 1945 to Generation Z, born after 1997. With more than 50 years difference between these generations, it’s no surprise that perspectives, learning styles and communication preferences vary widely. While this can make for a rich mix of ideas and skills, it also creates a big workplace communication challenge.
VPPPA’s magazine, The Leader, recently published an article titled “Conscious Communications, Understand the Generations.” It clearly defines each of the five generations and how they differ.
Generational Differences in the Workplace
- Traditionalists prefer face-to-face interactions.
- Baby boomers choose phone calls and meetings.
- Gen X-ers like email and virtual meetings.
- Millennials choose texting and social networking.
- Gen Z opts for a hybrid of apps, social and video conferencing.
While it’s helpful to keep these preferences in mind, most managers are looking for ways to simplify their workplace communication. In many industries such as manufacturing and warehouse distribution, workers don’t have access to email and can’t use their smart phones during work hours. Managers struggle with reaching and communicating with workers on all shifts and sending consistent messages.
Workplace digital signage has become a popular solution because it’s a visual communication channel. With screens located in breakrooms, cafeterias or time clock areas where employees gather, they offer eye-catching content keeping workers of all generations informed and engaged.
10 Ways Digital Signage Can Help Bridge Generation Gaps at Work
Promote knowledge transfer
Many older workers are on the verge of retirement. They have years of experience that can walk out the door with them. A lot of companies have great knowledge transfer or mentoring programs where these workers are teamed up with younger workers for hand-on training. Share this with everyone by posting pictures of the team with a short caption of what they are working on. It goes a long way to acknowledge the worth of the older worker and shows commitment to developing younger workers.
Solicit feedback in new ways
Your employees are a rich source of ideas for improving your business. All you have to do is ask, and make it easy for them to answer. Let’s say you want to launch a “Make us Safer” campaign and get everyone to participate. Announce it on your digital signage with some eye-catching graphics and program details. Give them options for participation. A QR code makes it easy for people to respond by phone. Others might prefer email. Still others might want to hand write suggestions and put them in a box. Make it easy to include everyone.
Make it fun
Everyone loves to laugh and it’s a great stress reliever. Humor is a secret weapon when it comes to workplace digital signage. It can help drive employee engagement among workers of all generations. Amusing inspirational quotes, cartoons or funny “safety fail” videos from YouTube will have everyone looking at the screens. (And, at the same time, they’ll be sure to notice the more serious content that you’ve posted.)
Connect to the whole person
All employees have lives outside of work. Often they are seeking help from their employers. Depending in their stage in life they may be challenged with childcare, planning for retirement, substance abuse, stress, or eldercare. Workplace digital signage is a great way to post helpful tips and let employees know that you care about them as people, not just employees.
Share their voices
One way to make sure that your digital signage is dynamic and on-point is to enlist multiple people to contribute content. Who are your subject matter experts? Who loves to take pictures or shoot videos? Mix it up to include workers form all stages in their careers.
Welcome new hires
Showcase new hires on your screens. Post their pictures with a brief description of their job and what they like to do when they’re not working. They’ll feel welcome and it makes it easy for other workers to say hello and wish them well.
Help them see themselves
Digital signage is popular because it’s visual. It’s easy to post pictures of people or company events. It’s very effective for safety messaging because you can let the images tell the story. In all cases, take a close look at the images you use, both from a diversity and age point of view. You want to engage your workers and get them to pay attention to your messages. Make sure they can see themselves in your messages. Do they reflect how your workforce looks?
Honor their contribution
Many of the traditionalists and baby boomers are long-tenured employees. As you honor their contribution with parties, ceremonies, awards or gifts, don’t forget to showcase their picture on your digital signage. Let everyone know about their years of service and wish them well. If they aren’t camera-shy, try capturing a quick video clip to post.
Know your target
You probably have many different types of workers. Depending on what they do and where they are, they need to know different things. The most successful digital signage deployments have multiple screens, displaying unique content that applies to workers in that area. If your call center is staffed by millennials, motivation and positive attitude is key. Post inspiring quotes, funny videos, quizzes and games. In the warehouse or plant, safety is critical. Consider the age of those workers and post content that works for them.
Work models are constantly changing. Companies want to be more transparent and break down silos. Collaboration is a big focus. Digital signage provides a platform for showing diverse teams working together and spreading the word about their success.
Start To Bridge the Generational Gap Today With Workplace Digital Signage
Deliver the important messages that keep your employees informed and motivated with Marlin’s Electronic Communication Station (ECS). Address key issues like teamwork, quality, diversity, and job safety along with news, sports, and weather to keep them engaged and coming back. Learn more here.