• Apr. 23, 2024
  • Corporate communications and positioning
  • Communications, Event
  • Written by: Exponentiel

Zoomers, Gen X and Boomers

Adapting internal communications for generations on opposite ends of the spectrum

This rich and wide-ranging subject was featured at the Conference on Internal Communications, organized by Les Affaires. Nancy Bouffard (X), Vice President at Exponentiel, took part in this highly relevant discussion alongside Marie-Antoinette Diop (Z), Director, Strategies and Policies of Beer Canada’s Québec Brewers Association, and Charles-Édouard Carrier, journalist and content and business development consultant, who conducted the interview. Read the highlights of the interview below.

With four generations currently rubbing shoulders in the workplace, it's essential to rethink the way you communicate. With the Boomers gradually leaving the workplace, the hyper-productive Xers carving out a place for themselves in a saturated market, and the Ys (or Millennials) paving the way for the digital transition, teleworking and EDI (equity, diversity, inclusion), it's now the Zs' turn to gradually enter the scene and bring a wind of change to the workplace.

Born under the glare of the camera and accustomed to portraying their lives on social media, Generation Z has an inherent need to express themselves and to be heard. They are arriving on the labour market in the era of teleworking imposed by the pandemic, in the midst of a labour shortage, while artificial intelligence and interpersonal connection via screens are taking hold. By simply putting this generation into context, we can already see that there is a considerable gap with previous generations, and that changes in our ways are on the horizon.

To fully understand this generation, first and foremost let’s consider what they are putting (back) on the table: work-life balance, with flexible working hours in hybrid mode or hours arranged around non-work commitments. As with the pandemic, the Z mentality is forcing us to re-evaluate what productivity and performance really mean at a time when a wide range of technological tools means you can be connected to your team at all times, almost anywhere on the planet. Rethinking how work is organised, how teams are engaged, and the importance of mental health is clearly on the menu.

These days, you can create real engagement by varying the tools you use to communicate. To capture attention, anything interactive is popular: podcasts, FAQs and polls are all tools that work well, especially with the Z demographic. To win over the different generations, it's important to identify and fine-tune messages that will be well received, while opting for channels that are relevant to the audience. We must also avoid falling into cynicism or stereotypes associated with a particular generation. Intergenerational coaching is a winning formula for building bridges between X, Y and Z and learning to recognise and use their respective strengths.

In communication as in personal life, it is reassuring to note that human connection will always occupy a predominant place. To create connections that transcend screens, creating spaces for exchanges and meetings helps to strengthen links between generations. For example, brainstorming over a coffee or a brief face-to-face exchange between colleagues will always have more impact than just sending an email. In this regard, the older generations, who are more accustomed to interacting face-to-face, have an important role to play in integrating the Zs into the world of work.

To adapt internal communications to the different generations, we need to open up the dialogue, ask questions that show genuine interest and listen, taking the other person's opinion into account. And to connect without sounding fake, let's rely on authenticity by avoiding using generational references.

In a world awash with fast-moving information, we need to take time for human relationships. The arrival of Generation Z gives us the opportunity to rethink the dynamics of our communications. Let's keep an open mind and remember that from Boomers to Zoomers, each generation contributes in its own way, individually and in contact with each other, to changing the way we communicate with each other.