Millennials and businesses adapting to new generation of communication

Technology including cellphones and computers have made communication easier than ever, but are younger generations losing face-to-face communication skills at the same time?

Text messages and emails are quicker, but they are a little more indirect than talking to someone on the phone or in person.

Experts said these more indirect methods of communication aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but some employers in our area prefer a nice mix of both.

At Gundersen Health System, clear communication is critical.


“The primary reason is for patients, so that we can clearly communicate what they need and communicate education to them, and their care is the most important,” said Janine Luz, director of Gundersen’s Organizational Development Department.

Luz helps with hiring about 900 new employees every year, and like forms of patient care she said forms of communication over the years have changed.

“We’ve certainly seen that employees in newer generations are going to be more comfortable with texting or maybe communicating with those methods,” said Luz.

As younger generations grow up surrounded by cellphones, iPads and other technology, Tim Tritch of Career Services at UW-L said it can be harder for some to feel comfortable communicating the old fashioned way — face to face or talking on the phone.

That’s why all students are required to take at least a couple of speech and writing courses in order to graduate.

“We know that employers are looking for people that have effective communication skills, and that’s not something new,” said Tritch.

Some employers including Gundersen also provide communication training for new hires.

Tritch said it’s all about finding a balance.

“I think many employers are embracing these different types of communication,” said Tritch. “The challenge is often for that younger person to make sure that they’re using the right form of communication.”

While younger generations may feel more comfortable communicating indirectly through text and emails, both Tritch and Luz said they also see some people of older generations embrace new technology and need some training on the more traditional forms of communicating.

Gundersen is also incorporating a new communication system in the hospital’s Legacy building set to open in January.

Patients will have the option of sending an internal text message to staff members for assistance.

Luz said this will be an easier way to provide service and help with the new generation of communication.