Photo Credit: Emily Rouse, twitter: @emily_rouse
On January 13th, 2016 Anne Collier and Sarah Albro led a pro bono session for the Junior League of Washington on how to communicate effectively across generations. During the presentation, which took place in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., Anne discussed how the women of the Junior League can modify their communicate style to help members of different generations more readily tune into their ideas. The Junior League, whose mission is to improve communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, invited Anne as part of its educational programming for members.
The questions asked during the session revealed the concerns of three generations, Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers, such as the lack of support employers provide to Millennials because they don’t believe Millennials will stay with an employer for very long. Anne believes it’s still worth investing in young people and they won’t leave the employer unless there is a reason to do so. And, the lack of investment, she says, is a reason to leave.
The ensuing discussion revealed agreement that (i) these days workplaces don’t offer what they used to in terms of opportunity and professional development so it’s no wonder Millennials job-hop more than any other generation; and (ii) what employers and managers really want is for Millennials to be engaged before moving on.
Another generational question raised by the Junior League was about an “us” versus “them” situation – the hostile environment caused by the employees in the times of change. Anne suggested the impetus and support for changing this culture needs to come from the top to be effective. Anne also believes that if the system needs to change, the change needs to be framed in understanding of the employees’ needs and it is the job (and challenge!) of the leadership to communicate to the employees how the new system meets their needs.
During the presentation, which was favorably discussed on social media by the participants the following day, Anne also talked about leveraging communications skills, which are necessary for growth and advancement, as the foundation of becoming a better leader, colleague, and teammate.