WWPR’s Executive Communicators and Professional Development Committees held a Brown Bag Lunch on Feb. 17 titled: “Mind the Gap,” a panel about bridging the generational gap in the workplace.
Heather R. Huhman, founder & president of Come Recommended, moderated the Washington Women in Public Relations panel discussion with Pat Wheeler, Cultural DC, representing Baby Boomers; Amber McCracken, American Academy of HIV Medicine, representing Gen Xers; and WWPR board member Meghan Sager, New Media Strategies, representing Millennials. (Pictured above are Meghan Sager, Debbie Friez, Heather Huhman & Amy McCracken.)
It was a lively, humorous, and honest discussion about the sensitive issue of generational differences in the workplace. The biggest misconceptions of the generations are:
· Millennials are lazy and entitled
· Gen Xers are not loyal to their employers
· Baby Boomers are not tech savvy, aggressive or “hungry”
The participants wanted to know how to best communicate across generational lines. It was decided you need to simply ask the person what is the best way to communicate with them.
The key lesson learned is that all generations should take a step back and listen to one another. We are not that different. Many of the "barriers" we see are really experiential. Older generations should remember how they handled issues in the workplace when they were in their 20s. Likewise, younger people should look for common ground and open the lines of communications with more experienced co-workers.