Tag Archives: generation z

What’s the best way to connect with five generations of employees?

For the first time ever, there are now five generations of employees working alongside one another.

From Maturists – whose parents fought in the Second World War – to Generation Z, who were born after 1995 and were raised in a completely digital world, it’s now more difficult than ever for managers to find a communications channel suitable enough to reach out to every different kind of employee.

The five generations



Baby Boomers


Generation X


Generation Y


Generation Z

(Born after 1995)

Percentage in the U.K workforce 3% 33% 35% 29% Currently employed in part-time jobs or new apprenticeships
Communication media Formal letter Telephone Email and text message Text of social media Hand-held (or integrated into clothing) communication devices
Communication preference Face-to-face Face-to-face ideally, but telephone or email if required Text messaging or email Online and mobile (text messaging) Facetime
Source: Barclays

A study conducted by Dr. Paul Redmond, an expert in generational theory, suggests that Maturists and Baby Boomers prefer to be given information face-to-face, whereas recent generations of employees favour a more digital approach.

IC shouldn’t be governed by generational differences, but employers need to be sensitive to the fact that each generation has had very different experiences and education, which means they can have very different communications preferences as a result.

Baby Boomers grew up without PCs, while the internet enabled Millennials to have the answer to any question at their fingertips. It’s not surprising then, that older generations tend to prefer face-to-face communication, because the Internet was introduced to them at a later age.

It’s too impractical to have managers relay a large amount of information verbally, especially if your staff work in different locations. And while relying on email to appeal to younger generations is easy, it can be difficult to achieve the right tone, so there is a risk that the message could be misunderstood.

You should never fall into the trap of grouping colleagues into generations, for example by assuming that older people don’t know how to use mobile phones, or that younger employees are obsessed with social media, but also it is important to understand that your workforce will be extremely diverse, and there will never be a catch-all solution to getting messages out effectively.

Use a variety of channels to target all your employees – without going overboard.

For important comms, it may be useful to send out an email and a written letter, in order to get the message out to both digital and traditional employees. More relaxed comms can be integrated into channels that people like to use, such as Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter.

Social media is an ideal channel for light-hearted comms, like alerting colleagues about the Christmas party, spreading the word about a charity event or just recognising someone for a job well done. However, remember that many people do not use social media, or may not want to use their personal accounts for work, so you may need to encourage them to join in with the conversation.

Stick to variety in order to reach out to as many people as possible, while ensuring that there is one consistent channel that contains every bit of employee information. This lets colleagues rely on a source for information should they wish to seek it.

The intranet is a great channel to use as a foundation for internal comms, as long as employers ensure that every colleague has access to it. Employers could also choose to use their own digital notice board or a website such as Workplace by Facebook, as a channel to publish all internal comms.

While the intranet acts as a database for internal comms, email, Instagram and letters operate as secondary channels to reinforce information and to reach out to all generations in the workplace.

It might be useful to review your internal comms mix to make sure that the channels you are using are successfully getting information out to all and are offering colleagues the opportunity to engage with you in a meaningful way.

What does 2017 hold for internal comms?

The festivities are in full swing and 2017 is just around the corner. As the year comes to an end, it’s safe to say that 2016 has been an eventful year, from Brexit to Trump.

But what internal comms challenges can we expect in the year ahead?

Generation Z
Move over, millennials. Companies employing those aged 21 and under in 2017 are looking at the next generation: Gen Z.
The first generation to have truly grown up surrounded by technology, they’re likely to be more tech-orientated – meaning even more focus will be needed on social media and other digital platforms.
They’re also more likely to job hop in search for their perfect career.

Research shows that 83 per cent of today’s students believe three years or less is the appropriate amount of time to spend at their first job, and over a quarter believe you should stay at your first job for a year or less.
Internal comms teams will need to tweak their comms to encourage talent retention, focusing on development and training options so the new workforce will have a reason to stick around.

This year, Uber lost the right to call its drivers self-employed, bringing a huge amount of change to the company.
Now with 40,000 employees instead of partners, Uber is going to need to consider how it treats its employees.

Whether drivers preferred being self-employed and resent the change, or have dealt with years of resentment up until the decision, this big change means drivers are going to be disengaged.
And it’s not just Uber that’s going to need to change its practices – research by Citizens Advice suggests that 460,000 people could be falsely classified as self-employed, meaning companies like Deliveroo, Hermes and Handy could all be next to come under the firing line in 2017.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, it’s predicted that the use of freelancers is going to dramatically increase – one study suggested that 74 per cent of companies will contract with more freelancers and 60 per cent plan to hire more freelancers than full-time employees.

This undoubtedly brings challenges for internal comms. A lack of benefits, job security and regular office presence brings difficulties engaging a large proportion of the workforce.
Companies affected by this change will undoubtedly need to tweak their internal comms.
There may be challenges around onboarding, and a high proportion of freelancers mean that if the internal magazine regularly plugs benefits, a new set of platforms should be established.

** Get 2017 off to a flyer with our breakfast briefing session on Jan 16. We’ve rounded up three leading IC authorities to tell us exactly how they engage their diverse audience. For more details, click here…**