Express Employment Professionals | 3515 W. Two Mile House Rd Columbus, IN 47201

Owners Blog

Call Me, Maybe?

Call Me, Maybe?

It has become painfully apparent in our business that there are differences in communication styles with the older and younger generations. Generation Y likes to text, Tweet, Snapchat and instant message.  Baby boomers and older Gen Xers tend to prefer phone calls and emails. On top of that, the younger employees now use all sorts of abbreviations, informal language, and colloquialisms.  This has made for some definite challenges and can cause some real communication breakdowns in the workplace.

I have found that leaders and employees need to find ways to communicate with their colleagues in the ways each person prefers. I have also found that nothing replaces the good old face to face meetings. We try to meet in teams in our office at least once a day and larger groups every other week. This brings staff members of different generations together for face-to-face conversations.  This helps build trust and can help break down some of the barriers that can occur with digital communications.

A good friend of mine shared this tidbit with me as we were discussing the best way to communicate these days. He asked me a rhetorical question, “How do you initiate and also get cooperation in a conversation?” He said it starts with a breakdown of the word conversation. He taught me that “con” is from the Latin word that means with or together. A simple way to think of the root of the word is the meaning to turn to one another, to face one another. That’s what people do when they converse.

Then he shared that in order to not have one-way conversations or “versations” then we have to get both parties involved. He said, “If you don’t respond to my text, then maybe I need to turn to you via the phone? Perhaps it is truly a face to face interaction that will work best?”

I think it’s easy to automatically stereotype generations into preferred communication methods, but I think time is breaking down even those stereotypes. Technology is changing and messaging comes in many forms. It used to be the telegram, a written letter, or an in person visit. Then, not long ago, it moved to AOL and you would hear, “You’ve got mail.” We’ve come so far from even that day and age.

To say that one method is the best to communicate in the workplace is to forget about the multitude of methods that exist today. Choices are abundant and are as numerous as an individual’s preferences. Maybe what Carly Rae Jepsen meant when she sang, “Call me, maybe?” is that maybe calling will work, but maybe texting is better or maybe reach out to me via Snapchat or Instagram. Perhaps she wants you to dial her landline, but maybe, just maybe sending her a memo via fax will really get her attention? Here’s my number. Call me, maybe?

This article is written by Mike Heffner, the owner of the local Greenwood Express Employment Professionals franchise.  Contact Mike at, @IndySouthMike on Twitter or visit