In the last post, we discussed the nuances between Generation X, Y, Z and showed a little summary of the evolution of each generation. In this post, I’d like to highlight 3 effective points to communicate with Generations X and Y such that each will be able to understand how to best connect with the other.
1. Marketing/Branding/Networking Strategies — Surprisingly, what attracts Generation X to a company, product or brand is similar to what attracts Generation Y…in theory…Both generations need to be engaged by something that resonates within themselves such that they identify with that brand or company. Both are interested in brands or products that identify with their risk appetite as well as fulfill their necessary goals. And finally, both need to fulfill the perception that the brand or product (or company) brings something that will make their life significantly easier (efficiency, payment, compassion, etc). Of course, what applies to these 3 categories it what differs.
2. Retaining Talent For Your Company — Generation X needs security and warmth. Generation X definitely needs retirement perks and benefits, but also is influenced by people. A warm, familial environment does wonders with retaining Generation X, and creating an environment in which Generation X will feel comfortable, safe and secure. Retirement benefits with some risk are good, but generation X generally doesn’t overindulge in highly risky long-term or short-term investments. Generation Y, on the other hand, has realized that most corporate entities don’t really care about you. They are more driven by life goals and making a difference. Thus, work environments must not only show a veritable way of getting promoted, but also a reason that this corporation is at the forefront of its field or in some way is much different from the others. Generation Y is extremely goal-oriented and a little more risky, so retirement investment plans are not as attractive (especially after they saw what happened to the baby boomers in 2007), and instead, higher pay and other benefits as well as things such as stock options are a much more attractive and lucrative option for them.
3. Skill Development — It’s increasingly more difficult to teach people of different generations due to the vast differences in technological aptitude. Generation X is definitely more of an in-person, classroom type of generation, while generation Y relies more on high-speed, quick snapshots of information. In order to teach generation Y, one must realize that they have been introduced to a world where information is at their fingertips. Depth of understanding is not necessary, at first glance, and neither is patience. Generation Y has shorter attention spans and wider horizontal vision making it more difficult to keep on a consistent steady task. A spiral approach to learning is probably the most well-executed way of teaching Generation Y, where correlative and relational approaches to learning will work best for keeping their attention, while allowing for maximum breadth of learning.
Understanding the differences between Generation X and Generation Y can help you bridge the social and psychological gap and can improve your networking, branding and/or understanding of their situations. It makes it a lot easier to communicate and co-exist, and allows for a great way to transfer knowledge through generations (whether older to newer or vice versa), as well as to understand how to assimilate both groups to create a conducive and successful working environment, marketing campaign, or maybe just a friendship.
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