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Focus on these things to succeed in Workplace Communication Skills

A Guide to Your First Job...for Graduates and Employers


…You are fresh out of college; you made it through the interview process and got your first break into the workforce.  You want to do great things and believe you have a lot to offer.

…As an employer you have given this recent graduate their first break, an opportunity to get started in their career, to learn, and grow. 


What can you both do to start things off right?  What are some things to consider when getting familiar with one another?


Generational gaps exist these days, more so than ever before.  Today’s college graduate has grown up in a world of social media, texting and sound bites.  This is very different than generations before them, and probably different than their employer has had to manage.  Just because there are differences does not mean there is diminished value, however, norms are very different.  In order to make the best of the situation, both employee and employer need to work on communication techniques.


Here are Some Basic Communication Guidelines for the New Graduate and Employer:


For first time employees…


1)    Look people in the eyes when talking with them.


2)    Smile and listen when someone is talking to you.


3)    Pick up the phone or have in person discussions to develop more personable relationships with your colleagues and customers.


4)    When communicating in email, do not use acronyms and abbreviated words.  Spell out words, sentences and concepts.


5)    Do not text and participate in social media at work unless it is done in intervals during lunch or end of day.


6)    Be open to learning new ways of communicating which may seem slower and less efficient than what you are used to.  Being a good communicator means you understand how others need to process information.  Ask your employer how they want to receive information from you.  


7)    Speed is not something you will get credit for, so slow down and pay attention to detail.  Other generations may seem less efficient to you, but you are now working in an environment where accountability and accuracy are important.


For employers of the new generation…


1)    Don’t be offended if professional norms are ignored.  If someone is not looking you in the eye, point it out to him or her; teach but do not judge.


2)    It is up to you to teach professionalism and give feedback.  So much communication these days is very loose when it comes to grammar.  Point things out to new graduates to help them improve.  And...if grammatical norms are broken, try not to dismiss the content of their message.


3)    Be prepared to communicate via texting.  Take advantage of more regular dialog with this generation, but do not feel you need to limit yourself to it.  Show them how to provide weekly reports in a more formal format, giving them an example of what you want, and then working with them to recreate it each week.


4)    Don’t be overwhelmed by how fast these individuals work, or their lack of attention to detail.  They are used to multitasking and using technology to move through things quickly.  Take advantage of these skills, at the same time instilling the need to check their work.  One technique is to ask them “Is this the best you can do?” each time before you review their work.  They will either tell you yes, and you can point out their flaws when you review it…or they will take it back and make improvements before you review it.  Either way you will start changing their perception from speed matters to quality matters.


The biggest challenge for this new workforce is their different communication style; different from any generation before them.  Both parties, Manager and New Employee, need to understand each other and learn to appreciate one another.  As long as everyone takes time to understand and communicate expectations, all parties should be able to bring value and grow.




Written by Lisa WoodsPresident ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, and dynamic business leader with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth. Throughout her career, Lisa has been influential in integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and developing employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors.


Do you have a question for Lisa?  Post it in our Executive Leadership Community, she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


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