Sunday, August 9, 2020
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Working Together in a Multi-Generational Family Business

In today’s economic climate, there are four different generations working together—Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Y, and Millennials. Each of these generations grew up in a different time with very different values and communication styles. As members from each of these generations come together to run a family business, they need to continuously improve their internal communication in order to avoid interpersonal conflict. 

Match formality to office culture Older generations are more familiar with very professional, formal workplaces. Younger generations, on the other hand, have grown up in a more colloquial, informal communication environment. Sometimes, older business professionals feel that younger employees cross the line by writing very familiar, informal e-mails, letters, or other business correspondence. In order for a family business to run efficiently, managers needs to establish guidelines and rules as to the formality of business communication.

Utilize multiple communication platforms Veterans and Baby Boomers tend to prefer conducting business negotiations face-to-face, while Millennials lean toward text-based mediums and e-mails. These varying attitudes toward communication can actually be an asset to a multi-generational family business. Instead of restricting business to one form of communication, it’s better for a business to understand and balance a variety of communication strategies. 

Recognize the opportunity to learn Older generations don’t need to shy away from new communication strategies like social media or programming. Instead, they can develop a better understanding of these new technology trends by learning from younger generations. In addition, there is a variety of programming and social media classes that can help Veterans and Baby Boomers learn more about the power of marketing through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In family-run businesses, Generation Y and Millennials can help older generations stay on top of these emerging communication technologies. 

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