What is Generational Fluency?

June 8, 2023 | By: CRE Insight Journal

Generational fluency is a transformative skill in the modern workspace. The commercial real estate industry is a melting pot of distinctive generational cohorts. Developing an understanding and proficiency in communicating across different generations, and appreciating their unique attributes, values, and communication styles, is critical in continuing to find success while leading teams.

This perspective is key in driving inclusivity, cohesion, and productivity in the workplace. This article delves deeper into the concept of generational fluency, the distinctive characteristics of various generations, and the benefit of generational fluency in the workforce.

Generational Fluency: An Overview

Generational fluency is the art of grasping and skillfully engaging in cross-generational communication. It encompasses the appreciation of each generation’s unique traits, values, and communication preferences. Companies that master generational fluency cultivate an inclusive, cohesive, and high-performing work environment. Understanding the differences below can help foster effective communication, reduces misunderstandings, and enhances collaboration, leading to a more cohesive and productive work environment.

Deciphering Generational Differences

Commercial real estate is currently host to four distinct generations, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Understanding the differences between these groups can help you as a leader to bridge any gaps in communications and help solve misunderstandings that may arise. Please note, each individual is different, and these descriptions may not apply to everyone.

Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)

Baby Boomers are often perceived as competitive and work-centric, striving for positions, perks, and prestige. They value face-to-face communication and personal interaction. This generation is defined by their strong work ethic, often prioritizing work over personal life. They are known for their loyalty, interpersonal skills, and adherence to traditional corporate structures. Despite generally being less comfortable with digital tools compared to younger generations, they bring invaluable experience and wisdom to the table.

Generation X (Born 1965-1980)

The bridge between the digital immigrants and digital natives, Generation X is often perceived as independent, resourceful, and adaptable. They generally have a balanced approach to work and personal life, often valuing job security and work-life balance. Members of Generation X are generally adept at both in-person and digital communication, flexibly navigating between the two. Their value systems are often characterized by pragmatism, self-reliance, and an appreciation for diversity in the workplace.

Millennials (Born 1981-1996)

Millennials, or Generation Y, are generally technology aficionados who value collaboration, flexibility, and feedback. They often prefer digital communication and generally thrive in less hierarchical structures. They generally place a high value on work-life balance, often seeking work that aligns with their personal values and goals. They are often times known for their social consciousness, ambition, and desire for continuous learning.

Generation Z (Born 1997 and later)

The latest entrants to the corporate world, Generation Z, are true digital natives. They generally value authenticity, diversity, and creativity, and prefer swift, visual-based communication. Members of Generation Z are generally more comfortable with remote and flexible working arrangements, valuing a healthy work-life integration. They are often known for their entrepreneurial spirit, global mindset, and a high degree of digital literacy.

The Heart of a Harmonious Workplace

Generational fluency is pivotal in enhancing communication within a multigenerational workforce. It promotes clarity and minimizes misunderstandings, ensuring that messages are effectively received and understood. By understanding each generation’s communication style, businesses can foster a culture of openness and trust, which is the bedrock of any successful organization.

Generational fluency also plays a vital role in nurturing a culture of respect and understanding. By acknowledging the unique experiences and viewpoints of each generation, organizations can create an environment that encourages idea-sharing and collaboration. This appreciation of diversity reduces conflict and fosters a harmonious work atmosphere. When employees feel respected and understood, they are more likely to be engaged and loyal. Generational fluency directly impacts talent retention and employee satisfaction.

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