How to Manage Generational Dynamics Gen Xers, Gen Yers, Millennials and Boomers are all working alongside each other. But how do you get them to work well together?
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The 25 employees at Lumen Legal use e-mail and IM to communicate with each other. But last year, there was a communication breakdown. The company's twentysomething Gen Yers kept trying to IM their Gen X and baby boomer co-workers, who weren't always logging on to IM. It was becoming a source of irritation at the Royal Oak, Mich., attorney outsourcing firm, where 25 percent of the staffers are Gen Yers, 40 percent are Gen Xers and 35 percent are boomers. For the company's twentysomethings, "there's this frustration, like, 'Well, I was going to try to IM you, but you're not logged on--and why aren't you logged on?'" says founder and CEO David Galbenski, 39.
In November, the $10 million company set up employees' computers so that IM would automatically log them on at bootup. Lumen is also pondering some new "rules of communication" that let its employees know when it's best to IM instead of e-mail and vice versa. Galbenski chalks the problem up to a generational divide over how to communicate.