The pronounced generation gap in today’s workplace is a topic we consistently encounter in our selection and assessment business. We released an article, Hiring Adjustments for Generations X and Y, earlier this week in response to this gap. Now monster.com has a great article that goes to the experiential source of the younger generations’ uniqueness.

The younger generation, particularly Generation Y (born 1977 to 1989), thrives in a fast-paced technological world. . . Their constant exposure to technology has even caused some to speculate that their brains have developed differently. The familiarity of so many different technological media has enabled them to process a huge amount of information in a short amount of time . . . In some circumstances, these individuals may never have learned effective face-to-face interpersonal communication skills, due to the fact that so much of their social interaction has been over instant/text messaging, cell phones and email.

This ability to handle information has benefits as well as drawbacks. I remember people lamenting the format of USA Today when it first came out. Quick read stories and colorful charts cut against the old graphically-challenged black and white newsprint of established newspapers. That shift was a precursor to the generational change that has occurred.

…one of the primary findings was that the employer-employee relationship has become more project-based, as opposed to the traditional chain-of-command structure.

The relationship change is quite evident in the many interviews we conduct during the year. As mentioned in our article, the younger generation has a more horizontal view of the organizational chart.

This paragraph towards the end of the article cuts to the quick of the issue and helps to explain our focus on understanding candidate and employee communication styles:

Effective communication is imperative as businesses shift to this new fast-paced paradigm. Striking a balance with both generations can be difficult. Younger generations are geared to working in a fast-paced environment and getting information on a whim. Short, abrupt communication may occur and leave out important details that others may need to know in order to provide adequate responses. Older generations may overinform, causing confusion or extra work in sifting out pertinent information.

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