The Communication Process Model states that any type of conversation must flow through very specific channels between the sender and receiver (249). Specifically, the sender’s message must bypass noise and be understood correctly by the receiver. The essay writer accuracy of the delivery method impacts how the message is heard and subsequently, any feedback the receiver returns to the sender. The model does not explicitly mention a communication method as there are many different options available to a person in today’s world. It is common for members of different generations such as the Baby Boomers and Millennials to be prefer one method over another
How do the Baby Boomers prefer to communicate compared to Millennials?
Baby Boomers were born between the years 1946 and 1964. In that era, the most advance form of communication was the telephone. McShane (year) reports that Baby Boomers prefer the telephone because it causes less errors in message transmission than the advanced technology of millennials. When speaking by phone, you can hear a person’s tone, and when combined with the words coming from their mouths, it is very hard to misunderstand their messages.
Millennials, on the other hand, prefer quicker means of communication such as social media and text messaging (249). For these form of communications, a message has to go through multiple channels before it can be transmitted to the receiver. In social media, a person must type out their response, post it to a platform and wait for the receiver to see a notification, which could take minutes or hours depending on how often the receiver checks. Text messaging is a bit more direct as a person just needs to send a message to someone in their contacts or an unknown recipient.
Why are the communication methods causing issues between the generations?
There are huge differences in technology needed between the preferred communication methods between the two generations. A second, and possibly, more important issue, is the adaptation rate of each form. McShane (year) notes that 97% of millennials send text messages and 90% access the internet (for social media); only 66% of Baby Boomers use text messaging and 10% use social media. The enormous gap in usage virtually guarantees that the two generations will not be on the same page in terms of communication.
How can an organization’s managers bridge the communication gap?
As a manager, it would be my job to understand the needs of both parties. Baby Boomers need to understand that technological advances entrench texting and social media as the predominant means of communication. Similarly, Millennials must accept that communicating by phone is still an important means of communication, especially in the business world. The best way to get both parties to understand the other is to create specialized training sessions in each method and require both generations to attend.
How can management maximize both forms of communication in the workplace?
Business environments rely on an integrated communication system to maximize efficiency. In the past, telephones were the primary method of sending messages. The invention of smartphones has caused a disconnect between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. Both sides are staunch in their belief that their method of communication is best. To bridge this gap, an astute manager would create an ongoing training session that creates an environment where both phone calls and texting are needed. An example would simulate a sales floor where accurate message transmission is critical to satisfied customers.
For this example there are three members of the Baby Boomer generation and two Millennials are on the floor. Two other Millennials went to lunch outside of the office. Suddenly, 15 people walk into the store wanting to buy glasses. Baby Boomers in this example can use this scenario to learn how to text the other team members who are not in the building. Once the other two salespeople return, a manager walks up to them, pretending to be a customer who wants a specific item, but it is not at that store. One of the Millennials writes down what the customer wants and is then instructed to call nearby stores to see if it is in stock.
A second illustration of the two technologies coming together was explained by McShane (year). The staff at St. Luke’s Medical Center relied on both forms of communication. Again, the younger members preferred texting and the older generation touted phones and paging. At a hospital, doctors and nurses need to get a hold of each other quickly, especially in the emergency medicine units. Texts provide a means of achieving that goal as 97% of Millennials owns a smartphone. St. Luke’s issue with texting was the insecure network the younger generation was texting on. It violated HIPPA privacy rules because it exposed patients’ sensitive information to external networks. To correct this, the hospital brought millennials and Baby Boomers together to create a unique text message system for the hospital.
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Can Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory explain the motivational differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory explains five dimensions of needs human beings must have filled in order to motivate them to achieve specific tasks. Those dimensions include physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self actualization (McLeod, 2018). Upon further examination, each element reveals the components that need to be met before any person can move to the next. For example, the base element is physiological needs; to have those needs met, a person must have air, water, sleep, clothing, shelter, food, and reproduction (McLeod, 2018). Once a person has these needs met, they can move on to the next level: Safety. This level states that a person needs employment, personal security, health, resources and property (McLeod, 2018). Let’s tie these two levels together. When a person has enough food and shelter to sustain them in day-to-day life, he or she can wake up every day, leave their home to look for a job, be alert when walking outside, and so on.
How can Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory explain what motivates Baby Boomers and Millennials?
Maslow’s theory absolutely explains what motivates the two generations. For Baby Boomers, they have had enough time in the work force to gain the money necessary to cover the base needs, specifically physiological and safety. Millennials, on the other hand are struggling to meet those needs due to the Great Recession of 2008. Prior to the recession, 56.4% of employers offered health care; fast forward ten years and only 46.9% of employers offered health care (Joszt, 2018). Canadians are lucky that the government controls the health care system. The average person used $5,543 of taxpayer money through the national system (Warnica, 2017). Combine that with the decreasing number of employers offering other benefits such as retirement plans, Millennials bear a heavier burden financially. Texting allows Millennials to get work done faster. More work completed means more money they can earn and save for a rainy day.
Baby Boomers, on the other hand, have spent decades in the work force, giving them ample time to save for their financial futures. This correlates with Maslow’s theory as the base needs have been met, they can move towards the top-tier needs of love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Baby Boomers may not see that their flippant criticisms of Millennials is chasing away the talent they need to keep a company going. Grovo (n.d.) reports that Millennials value five things in the workforce: development, meaning, autonomy, efficiency and transparency. Each time Baby Boomers are condescending towards Millennials, it shows that the Boomers are not interested in helping them develop into effective managers. Data shows that this disconnect is a prime reason why 60% of Millennials leave a job within three years, costing companies $15-$25,000 to replace each lost employee (Grovo, n.d.). To turn this around, Baby Boomers must find ways to accept the communication methods and life stages of Millennials. They are the future of any company and must be valued.
Grovo. (n.d.). The Disappearing Act: Why Millennials Leave Companies and how L&D can Entice Then to Stay.
Joszt, L. (2018, August 31). Percent of Employers Offering Health Coverage Increases for First Time Since 2008. Retrieved from https://www.ajmc.com/focus-of-the-week/percent-of-employers-offering-health-coverage-increases-for-first-time-since-2008.
McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html.
Warnica, R. (2017, August 2). How much does the ‘average’ Canadian pay in a year for public health care?. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/health/how-much-does-the-average-canadian-pay-for-public-health.