Communication across Generations
Supervising staff and volunteers from ages fourteen to ninety can be a challenging task. These age groups make up the four different generations: Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, and Generation Y’ers. Traditionalist, (born 1925-1946) may need a little prodding to communicate their needs and they prefer written communication plans. Baby Boomers, (born 1946-1964) are aware of technology but still prefer to communicate by telephone and they call themselves the age of the memo. Generation X’ers, (born 1965-1982) commonly prefer short concise communication. Generation Y’ers, (born 1983-2000) prefer short, quick e-mails, texting and mobile phone applications to communicate. The hospital employs people from all of these generations. Yet organizations are still relying on e-mails, voicemails, memoranda’s and face-to-face time to reach this diverse group. Learning to communicate across different generations can ensure that all staff and volunteers understand policy and procedure, deliver a remarkable patient experience, and reach employee satisfaction goals.
First and foremost, all staff and volunteers need to understand hospital policies and procedures that apply to their work environment. Information in a hospital changes regularly; becoming aware of these changes are all staffs responsibilities. The amount of communication distributed daily makes this task next to impossible.
When an employee works for a healthcare organization, preventive healthcare is essential. Flu shots are not mandatory at Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital (POH) just strongly suggested. If an employee chooses not to take a flu shot, she must go online and sign a
COMMUNICATION ACROSS GENERATIONS
flu declination form. I have a full-time employee from the Traditionalist Generation who was out of compliance in this area. Her name kept appearing on a list, indicating she needed to
complete this task. I emailed her three times with the step-by-step directions about how to complete the declination form. She never responded to me or completed this task. My director instructed her to complete this task and walked her through the process. As a member of the Traditionalist Generation, she respects authority, not wanting to disappoint my director. I should have paid closer attention to her nonverbal communication and gone to her for task completion. Being a member of this generation, I may fail to listen actively to those Baby Boomer and Traditionalists that I interact with daily.
This incident also raises another issue. POH employees depend on e-mail and the intranet for our as our main sources of communication, but we still have employees who are unsure of their computer literacy. All employees should receive mandatory training on e-mailing and the intranet to be competent in these areas.
The ability to provide our patients with a remarkable patient experience is the number-one responsibility of...