For a recent Public Relations Society of America Puget Sound meeting in Tacoma, I interviewed a representative working in public relations from the Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer generation to try to understand them on a level I’ve never had before.
We talked consumer habit, social media, workplace and more. Check out the Q&A below:
1. What website do you look at the most?
- Boomer – Tough question! My internet history would likely say I am most frequently at Facebook or Twitter – both for work and my life away from work. I go to many news sites and blogs, too.
- Gen X – Facebook
- Millennial – Facebook
2. When you’re looking to make a purchase, where do you look first?
- Boomer – Review sites. Depending on the type of purchase I would go to places like CNET reviews, auto magazine review sites, or the reviews of customer at the retailer I’m considering.
- Gen X – Online search
- Millennial – The website of a store I associate with the product
3. What characteristics embody the ideal leader?
- Boomer – Honesty, humility, integrity, a sense of humor, intelligence tempered with patience.
- Gen X – Clear vision, humility and support for employees’ professional development.
- Millennial – Someone who listens to others and takes the ideas into consideration then ultimately makes a decision that is best for the company/situation.
4. How do you like to receive internal communications from your employer?
- Boomer – I’ve worked in both small and large organizations. My channel preference depends on the topic and information being conveyed. If you are changing my health care benefits, give me a link to an understandable and helpful website. If you are telling me that my company has been acquired, I would want to hear more about it in a staff meeting or some other in-person setting.
- Gen X – From my direct supervisor and in staff meetings with the organization’s head
- Millennial – It depends on the type and amount of information. I prefer emails for basic, quick information, staff meetings to touch base on information that is complicated and affects everyone and one-on-one meetings with a supervisor for large amounts or detailed information that affects me.
5. Finish this sentence, “Work is…”
- Boomer – a necessity to fund my “runcations” and other travel.
- Gen X – a means to support oneself while being of service to others
- Millennial – Fulfilling. Yes, it is for a paycheck, but it brings a sense of fulfilling what you are meant to do.
6. What are the top two benefits you look for from an employer?
- Total compensation (including leave policies)
- Culture and work environment
- Gen X
- Opportunity to learn about new subjects
- Schedule flexibility
7. When presented with a group project, what is the first thing you’d do?
- Boomer – Establish and clarify roles!
- Gen X – Work with the team to clarify roles and responsibilities for each person
- Millennial – Get organized. Assign individual tasks, timelines, meeting times, etc.
8. In what form and how often do you like to receive feedback, both praise & criticism?
- Boomer – Frequently (real time) and in person.
- Gen X – In person and immediately after the event
- Millennial – Face-to-face with either the supervisor or the person with the feedback as often as it comes up. I would rather hear during the project if I did something well or poorly instead of at a biannual meeting.
9. What is the most irritating stereotype of your generation you’d like to confront?
- Boomer – We are not our parents’ generation! The vast majority of Baby Boomers I know are fully engaged with and embrace digital life, in all aspects (tools, sites, channels, etc.). We are energized by change and are not stuck in the past of phone books, video tapes, print encyclopedias and CD players!
- Gen X – I don’t perceive my generation as having a strong identify and am not aware of any stereotypes.
- Millennial – That we expect to not have to work for what we get.
10. What social media accounts to you have and how do you use them?
- Boomer – What I have and what I regularly use are two different thing!
- I have and use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. To a lesser extend I use Instagram and interest.
- I have activity apps that have social elements, such as Nike RUn and Fitbit, where you can challenge your friends.
- I occasionally participate in review sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp.
- Gen X
- Facebook to keep in touch with family
- LinkedIn to network with numerous professionals and to research other organization
- Twitter, Pinterest & Houzz to manage client pages
- Facebook (to read what my friends/interests post, look at pictures, occasionally post, etc.);
- Twitter, Pintrest, Youtube, Instagram (I don’t actually use them)
What do you think of the responses? I’d love to hear your thoughts?