Today, we get to see different generations of employees working together in the organisations. Though each one of them contributes in a unique manner to organisational success, handling multiple generations is certainly not an easy task. Organisations introduce a number of HR practices with an intention to promote understanding among the various generations and prevent conflicts and chaos. Often streamlining of communication methods and tools forms an important part of these initiatives.
In every organisation communication or information sharing forms the lifeline of all its activities. Good communication tools and methods play a crucial role in eliminating misunderstanding or misinterpretation of information. Mr Saumen Chakraborty, President and Global Head of Quality, HR and IT, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, says, “Methods and tools are enablers to effective communication. Effective communication will help employees absorb organisational priorities in an effective manner and work towards achieving common goals. It also helps in internal brand building, increasing engagement and motivation levels of employees and giving the right perspective during times of crisis.”
Today, communication technology has advanced by leaps. While younger generations are well-versed with the latest communication techniques, organisations are training their veterans to adopt state of the art methods. Mr. Vikram Talwar, Vice- President Marketing and Capability Development, Fiserv India says, “Technology enables communication and makes it more effective to govern. Today we have various technology tools that enable collaboration between teams. Tools like SharePoint and CMS (content management system) based intranet act as knowledge repositories and collaboration tools for associates. The geographic spread encourages us to adopt convergence web tools like live time video conferencing solutions, webex, webcasts / podcasts to ensure effective communication among others.”
Aniisu Verghese, India Internal Communication Lead, Sapient, believes that keeping the communication process simple, consistent, service-oriented and compelling can create a better experience for its people. Aniisu reveals, “Vox is Sapient’s internal social business platform launched about a year ago. It allows our people spread across geographies and time zones to share advice, opinions, solutions and information about technology, design, development, trends, processes and personal interests.”
Usually, in the organisation younger generations who yearn for faster information sharing and opportunities to learn real-time, adopt quickly to internet based communication techniques. But old timers, who are used to working with more structured tools, take little longer to adapt. However, Sridhar V Head - Human Resources, VIT, says, “Communication issues in the workplace can seem difficult to manage, but these are not insurmountable obstacles.
Raising awareness of communication issues and focusing on productive behaviours can bring teams together and enable them to function more efficiently.”
In spite of best efforts, sometimes deviations from established and endorsed communication methods take place. This again gives rise to communication gaps and conflicts. Speaking on how to handle such deviations Mr Sridhar says, “We try to understand the reasons behind such deviations. Ineffective communication begins to stir when employees feel as though their voices aren’t being heard. Prevention is more important in dealing with conflicts from gap in communication or miscommunication. Every leader in an organisation should check the concerns and successes of their teams. By having consistent conversations, potential problems can be avoided.”
According to Veetika Deoras, Head Brand Marketing and Corporate Communication, Tata Capital, in organisations where multiple generations work together transparency in communication helps a lot.
It builds trust and encourages a culture of information sharing among employees.
“At Tata Capital we follow a communication framework that comprises a mix of online and offline tools, and which ensures a mix of upward, downward and peer to peer communication. We also work towards encouraging face to face communication, with a view to build trust and transparency and a sense of participation,” she explains.
While transparency begets trust, collaboration platforms help promote understanding and bonhomie. Usually misconceptions and misgivings exist between different generations of people.
Therefore good organisations don’t go by formal lines of communication alone. They encourage face to face meetings, seminars and discussion forums involving different generations of employees at regular intervals.
As a result people understand the opinions, needs and expectations of each other better.
And when people understand and acknowledge their differences, obviously, there is no room for conflict. Instead, the generational diversity actually becomes the strength of the organisation!