Emojis And Suits

Emojis And Suits

All generations are colliding in the office and in the marketplace. Conversations are being had, but are they being understood?

Communication is changing fast. The older generation in the workplace (now called Digital Immigrants) generally want to operate like this:

  • Series upon series of face-to-face meetings.
  • Formal emails and letters on letterheads.
  • Suit and tie.
  • No need for affirmation—let's just get the job done.

The younger generation (or Digital Natives) operate more like this, according to Forbes:

  • Lots of texting and WhatsApp meetings.
  • Group chats that include emojis, smiley faces and a lot of conversation around one decision.
  • Quick emails with abbreviated wording.
  • No letterheads.
  • They prefer jeans—skinny ones.
  • Affirmation enthusiast—their work is tied to their emotions.

It’s a recipe for perfect chaos and deep wells of misunderstanding. One generation wants respect, order and formality, while the other generation wants to feel the love, embrace virtual communication, more guidance and stay comfortably classy.

Here's a summarized excerpt from the Forbes article on how to blend the two:

Older workers may think the younger group is needy or high maintenance, and younger workers may feel in the dark or unappreciated. “The solution is on both ends. Leaders need to realize how important that acknowledgment is, but the younger generations need to realize they’re not going to get an IV drip of praise." (source)

What's the solution? Middle ground, respect and compromise. More conversations about how to converse and more understanding of each generational slant. Emails may become a thing of the past. Some people are just now catching onto the idea of email while others are sick of it and are completely getting off.

Communication about communication within an organization or communities is imperative because of how fast it's changing.

(photo via ian sanderson)