The Multi-Generational Workforce in 2023

Today’s workforce is made up of multiple generations—five to be exact—and each has a differing attitude towards work and their employers. Because of this, it’s important for employers to adapt to different communication styles for these different audiences. 

To help you effectively manage a multi-generational workforce in 2023 and beyond, we’re breaking down each generation to understand what influences them, what their priorities are, and how these factors affect their preferred communication styles. 

Breaking Down the Five Generations

Many believe that there are four generations in the current workforce; however, due to the rising number of older employees who aren’t retiring and continuing to work, others consider the true number to be five.  


Also known as the Silent Generation, this group is made up of people born between 1928 and 1945. Though most are now in their 70’s and 80’s, many are still working because they are unable to retire, as analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute.

  • This group has been heavily influenced by major world events, seeing as they were born during the Great Depression and World War II. Because of this, they are more reserved and traditional, believe in hard work, and prioritize saving their hard-earned money.
  • In terms of communication, they respond best with more formal communication. This includes one-on-one conversations and other practices that prioritize structure, rules, and respect. They do not need feedback as often as later generations. In fact, a yearly review is preferred.

2-Baby Boomers

This group is made of up people born between 1946 and 1964. The majority of this generation has spent their entire career in one or two positions, so they’ve culminated a wealth of industry knowledge and are also more likely to remain more loyal to their employer than later generations.

  • Baby boomers have been shaped by prosperity, 1960’s youth culture, and the Vietnam War. This means they are self-sufficient, competitive, loyal, and generally optimistic.
  • For communication, baby boomers are like the Silent Generation and prefer formal, face-to-face communication. Phone calls are also generally preferred over email and text. Also like the Silent Generation, they don’t need as many check-ins and rounds of feedback. Ultimately, they value open and direct communication, and strong, authentic relationships.

3-Generation X

Born between 1965 and 1976, this generation is known for their independence and greater understanding of technology than their predecessors.

  • Influences for this generation include dual-career and single-parent households (hence the greater independence), and organizational change caused by globalization and technology.
  • Generation X also prefers formal communication like face-to-face conversations and phone calls, but they also respond well to email. Although they also don’t need regular touch-points, they do prefer feedback that includes open and honest communication as needed. Additionally, they greatly value autonomy and flexibility.


This group makes up those born between 1977 and 1996. They have been one of the most influential generations in the workforce, seeing as they have been on both sides of the giant technological shift that started in the mid-2000’s.  

  • Millennials have been influenced by the boom of the personal computer, economic expansion, and the uncertainty following the 9/11 attacks. Most also entered a tough workforce following The Great Recession with high student loans, meaning they have a much more pessimistic attitude than their predecessors.
  • In terms of communication, millennials respond best with messages that prioritize structure, leadership, and direction. They look for regular, direct feedback that offers guidance and support, and are comfortable with a variety of platforms, including email, text, and social media. They also want purpose, ongoing conversations, and the support needed to develop their strengths, and heavily prioritize a healthy work-life balance.

5-Generation Z

Born between 1997 and 2012, this is not only the newest—but also the largest and most diverse—workforce in U.S. history.

  • Generation Z has been heavily shaped by the growth of technology, seeing as they grew up with cell phones, social media, and all the other latest and greatest technology.
  • Although many assume this generation prefers communication via social media and other technologies, which is certainly true, they do also look for face-to-face communication to establish trust and authenticity with their employer. They also look for even more regular feedback than Millennials and expect their employer to provide greater workplace communication, particularly about the company’s workplace, social commitment, and environmental impact.

In order to remain union-free, employers must understand, respect, and engage all generations in the workplace. Our communications consultants at IRI understand the complexities of managing a multi-generational workforce, and use this knowledge to help organizations effectively communicate with each generation and ultimately foster respect in the workplace. 

At IRI, we provide training tools and consulting services to help organizations maintain direct communications with their employees to avoid becoming part of the unionization trend. We believe every business is different, and each requires its own holistic and customized approach to communications and employee engagement. Whether you need an internal communications or engagement assessment, guidance in developing your internal communications or engagement strategy or social media strategy, digital media intelligence, crisis communications services, media relations, or media training, we have expert communications and engagement consultants who can quickly provide a specialized solution. Contact us using the chat on the right to discuss the next steps, or give us a call at (313) 965-0350.
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