Gone Missing: Recognition of Multigenerational Voices in the Mix


And may I tell you why? 

I’m a passionate champion of cross-generational conversation at work and all things that unite the generations in understanding each other, communicating in harmony and collaborating. A bit about me: Evolving from my work as a trailblazer in marketing and business development for professional services, for a few decades, I have focused primarily for over 15 years on helping companies/organizations and individuals within them solve their intergenerational challenges. 

For research for my 3rd book, You Can’t Google It!: The Compelling Case for Cross-Generational Conversation at Work, I surveyed individuals and interviewed multi-generational teams, and here’s what I found:  

Asked what problems more cross-generational conversation at work would solve, these were selected by over 50% of respondents, in this order of most-chosen to least.

  1. Lack of knowledge transfer
  2. Manager and staff stress, health problems, and disengagement
  3. Expensive turnover
  4. Inefficiencies in productivity

Poor interaction with clients/customers was selected by a little over 40 percent.

And Responses about the benefits of cross-generational conversation included:

  • More diversity of thought
  • A more personal approach to learning
  • Improving the cultural climate and reducing personal agendas
  • Better organizational health

Doesn’t that sound pretty desirable?

INSIGHT: Respondents recognized that a deficit of cross-generational conversation in work situations leads to stress and health problems as well as reduced productivity and turnover costs that have negative effects on financial results. The symptoms might be frustration, complaints about colleagues’ work habits, withholding information necessary for continual successful client relationships, trouble retaining valuable personnel, and lack of creativity and innovation that results in loss of competitive edge. 

There’s so much more I heard from them and hear regularly as people tell me about the stress that intergenerational tensions or puzzlement causes them. And loss of productivity, and if it was measured, decreased profitability. So, I am frustrated because generational/age diversity, inclusion, belonging, deserves a bigger seat at the DEI decision-making table. The intersectionality of all, and I mean all diversities, including diversity of thought, needs to be recognized by both individuals and management. 

We need to debunk myths of misinformation, develop better rapport among people of different generations, and that’s what I hope to start to do for you today. Because I have seen time after time when we put the generations together for meaningful discussions, in a non-threatening environment, and teach them how to navigate, they crave more. Most people really do want to connect.

Related: Good Questions, Good Conversations, Better Connections