Communicating Across Genders and Generations with Susan Long-Molnar
The Hampton Roads Chamber hosted another successful Chamber Education Luncheon on Thursday, April 25th with speaker Susan Long-Molnar presenting the topic: Communicating Across Genders and Generations. With many years of communications and business experience, Susan Long-Molnar is an ideal resource for innovative advice on the workforce. “You won’t fit the mold all the way across. None of us do and that’s a good thing,” said Susan Long-Molnar.
The topic revolved around how times are changing for the modern workforce, Millennials and Generation X becoming the majority of workers, and women taking a lead in business more now than ever. There are multiple generations and genders working side by side in organizations and offices, which can often create cultural miscommunication. Long-Molnar geared the discussion towards fleshing out different ways to approach generational gaps and recognizing the stigmas around generations in the workforce.
To start the presentation, Long-Molnar encouraged the guests to participate in a communications exercise involving each guest reading the year off of a penny and describing what exactly they were doing during that year including the age they were, if they were in school, working, where in the world they lived, and more. The exercise served as perfect demonstration of how different people grow up around significant influencers and events that shape who they are and become the defining differences between other generations.
Some of the current generations in the workforce were born in the 1920s to the 1940s who experienced the great depression; Baby Boomers who experienced the Vietnam War; Generation X who experienced new kinds of media covering the Challenger explosion; Millennials who lived through the attacks on 9-11 and social networking becoming a daily practice; Generation Z who are newly entering into the workforce. Each of these generations still contribute in today’s workforce in different ways. Long-Molnar said, “Some businesses have somebody still working who is 74 or 75 years old. And this impacts how people think while they are at work,” said Molnar.
Putting this information into perspective, Long-Molnar explained that Gen Z, makes up 40 percent of consumers in the United States. They are the most social in a multitude of different ways and strive to be attached to technology more than any other generation. Technology influences how Millennials and Gen Z conduct themselves in the workplace and leaves large learning curves. When speaking on how different generations get work done, she said, “The outcome is what counts, it doesn’t matter when or where it gets done, the outcome is what counts. We don’t communicate that very well.” Long-Molnar stressed that all workers should ask one another how the best way to communicate with one another is.
Later in the presentation, Long-Molnar took the time to split the room into groups and consider different prompts about how each generation would respond to different situations. The three prompts, which anyone can take away from the discussion and consider were:
She highlighted the importance of understanding how to communicate with different genders in the workplace. Opportunity gaps are important to handling advancement and equalizing pay between men and women. “We have got to make policies but also communicate differently,” said Long-Molnar.
Long-Molnar said, “What we know is all we know. So, we have to figure out how to handle these things, the way we handle performance needs to be considered for all generations.”
The Chamber Education Series continues on May 22nd with Craig Johnson from The Teneo Group as he presents “Cyber Security Trends & Tips”.
Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor, Southern Bank; Gold Sponsor, Managing Communications and Luncheon Sponsor, Bahama Breeze.