We have recently been hearing On social media a new terminology that emerged from the union between the terminologies Generation X and Millennials. This new concept has had so much commotion in such a sudden way due to a photo that went viral on Social Media platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook. The photo shows a text with which the Xennial generation feels identified with, as you can see below.
But what does it mean to be a Xennial?
According to Dan Woodman, the creator of the expression and sociologist at the University of Melbourne, a Xennial is a person born between 1977 and 1983 that was not included in any of the two existing categories (Generation X and Millennial). For theoretical purposes, comments Woodman, Xennials are not a generation but a "microgeneration" or a bridge that connects the previous generation and the Millennials. The expression appears for the first time in Good Magazine in 2014. There, Xennials were defined as " a micro-generation that serves as a bridge between the disaffection of Gen X and the blithe optimism of Millennials”, but without being as angry as Generation X or as confident as Millennials.
In practice we can define Xennials as a generation that lived many years without internet. In those years, apps such as Tinder didn’t exist and they had to use a landline in order to contact the person of interest, hoping it wasn´t the parents who answered. They would also met at the movies or rent VHS tapes at local video rental shops because it was not possible to purchase a digital movie. Xennials also started using the internet and mobile phones during their adolescence and were the first users to have it in the workplace.
Woodman, who is also considered a Xennial since he was born in 1980, says that what defines this micro generation is their technological experience: "You have a childhood, youth and adolescence free of having to worry about social media posts and mobile phones. Then we hit this technology revolution before we were maybe in that frazzled period of our life with kids and no time to learn anything new". Additionally, Woodman warns that these demographic stereotypes allow marketing and advertising experts to be able to label and define people, consequently selling the most suitable products or services to each consumer.
In the HR environment, recruiters usually comment that linking Generation X with Millennials is a challenge for talent management, for training new technologies and skills, and for management of expectations for both generations. Now, with the emerging of Xennials, new doubts appear regarding the workforce management.
Maybe they are a linking generation, not only regarding new technologies, but also regarding talent management. Are they facilitators of change because they have experienced it or an impediment because they do not identify with any generation?
Perhaps, what Woodman means is that Xennials should be considered in a more singular way and not as a cluster. Frequently, HR strategies focus on the management of the Generation X or Millennials and perhaps they are forgetting the intermediate generation.
And you, what do you think?