How to Reach Gen X Employees at the Office

How to Reach Gen X Employees at the Office

Today’s workforce has many generations. To reach all employees, you need to consider each group has its own communication preferences. For example, Baby Boomers prefer to talk over the phone or in-person, says the Plainview Herald. Millennials, on the other hand, want to text, according to the employee engagement app, Crew.

Sandwiched between these groups, Gen X employees can be easily forgotten. Don’t let that happen with your communications. Gen Xers, as they are commonly called, were born between 1965 and 1980. They make up 60 percent of the American workforce, according to HR platform Rise. Understand and optimize the communication styles of Gen X employees and you’ll have more engaged employees.

You’ve Got Mail

That AOL call is nostalgic music to Gen X ears. These employees want to hear from you via email. After all, they are the first generation to incorporate email into their daily lives.

When crafting your email, don’t forget WIIFM—“What’s in it for me?” That question is important across all generations. However, Generation X is especially curious about the personal impact of benefits. Gen X is also cost conscious, considering they lived through two recessions. Use your messaging to show the value of benefits, especially buy-up perks, like critical illness insurance or voluntary life insurance. This group reacts negatively to “hard sell” communications. See your role as a consultant. Give Gen X employees the facts they need to make smart benefits decisions.

The Social Network

While you may think social media and Millennials go hand in hand, Generation X spends its fair share of time online. One AdWeek survey found 75 percent routinely use social media, with Facebook being their preferred network. Do you take advantage of social media as an employee communications tool? Encourage your Gen X staff to follow the company. Or, consider creating private groups for employees and post need-to-know info.

Beyond social media, this group watches online videos. Almost 79 percent of Gen Xers stream or download at least one video each month. Keep the communication styles of Gen X employees in mind when preparing communications. A brief explainer video about a new benefit could be the ticket to educate these workers.

Hey, Mr. Postman!

While Gen X values digital, they are also receptive to printed communications. In a white paper from Independent Agent, 75 percent call pieces mailed to home valuable. A study from the US Postal Service found 60 percent of Gen Xers look for their mail every day, compared to 43 percent of Millennials.

When planning your communications mix for Generation X, include printed materials. This tactic also reaches their spouses, whom research shows both use benefits and are highly influential in choosing them. With 70 percent of this group married, spouses can play a big part in getting your message across.

I’m Going to Need for You to Come in on Saturday

What’s one way to lose a Gen X employee’s attention? Unnecessary meetings. This generation doesn’t respond to long, in-person sessions and prefers a no-nonsense attitude. Since other groups like face-to-face sessions, meetings are unavoidable. For the most effective cross-generational meetings, remember the adage, “Be brief, be bright, be gone.”  Before organizing a one-on-one encounter with a Gen Xer, ask if you could convey the message via email instead.

While it’s important to appeal to Gen X workers, you need to consider the communication styles of the entire workforce. The good news is that there’s often overlap. Most groups like to be reached through a diverse mix of media. They respond well to messages that focus on how they’ll benefit. If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be well-suited to reach all audiences, including Gen Xers.

Gen X has called itself the forgotten generation. Don’t leave them behind with your messages. Concise, educational communications that emphasize value are the way to get their attention.


Written by Danielle Love

Danielle is a benefits communications specialist, working on behalf of clients to write, edit and design dynamic print and virtual communications. She also manages the Trion Communications blog, which highlights the practice’s diverse areas of expertise.

Trion Communications

Ready, Set, Get Social

Ready, Set, Get Social

Did you know that approximately 78% of the U.S. population has some type of social media account? Yet, for every Twitter handle, Facebook profile, Pinterest board, or Instagram filter, some of us haven’t quite mastered how to talk on social media – or how to best communicate to this large audience.

If you’re a business owner, marketer, communicator, or salesperson, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of power in numbers. Before you jump into the world of social media, it’s important to take a step back and think about how you really want to use these platforms. Do you want to communicate internally with your employees? Encourage peer to peer interactions? Attract new customers? Promote your brand? Whatever your answer, learning how to communicate via social media is a good place to begin. Here are a few steps you can take to get started:

  1. Segment employees. To put it simply, not everyone communicates the same way. Whether you break it down by department, job title, or age demographic, targeting your audience will help you get your message across more effectively.
  1. Identify active users. Your employees probably range from very active to not so active on social media. Reach out to your most active participants. Ask for their feedback on how the company can gain social followers—and if they’d like to help execute some of those ideas.
  1. Encourage sharing. By this, I mean content sharing. Pictures of employees at the office with coworkers, internal newsletters, awards, job openings—providing, posting and circulating content between employees is a great way to promote conversation and your brand. If you’re supplying content, be sure to include shareable text and links, hashtags and uploadable images.
  1. Be human. Be real and personal. Social media updates shouldn’t sound like they were written by a corporate-speaking robot. Transform business efforts and company values into simple, real-world language. Coming across authentically will help engage employees—and even encourage them to share more company-related information. Psst: We can help you draft content meant to be read online, like emails, tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn Pulse articles, or even text messages.

Learning how to use social media in a business setting may take some getting used to, but as it becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, it’s important to consider new ways that you can connect with employees and new audiences online. These efforts can also teach us a lot about how employees are feeling, especially about work—which could help you learn more about your company culture, work environment or even the products you offer.

So, are you ready to get social?

Written by Katie Oberkircher

Trion Communications