If there is something we all have realised as one of the multiple consequences of Covid-19 is the fact that the pandemic and the lockdown have levelled many sectors in many ways.
I would like to write here about one of those consequences relating to the generation gap, and I would like to start with a question: “Is there really now a generation gap as we understood it before Covid turned our lives upside down?”
Reading an earlier blog we published on our webpage on March 4, 2016 titled “Mind the Gap: Slow meetings for generation Z”, the very last paragraphs caught my attention:
“Therefore, what will it be like, the next generation of meetings? Should we, the baby-boomers, go on stressing the importance of our forms of communications or simply try to adjust even more rapidly to the hurricane of virtual communication preferred by Gen Z kids? I am afraid there will be a big gap hard to mind, if no one is guiding them on the importance of human and live interaction, once only Millennials and Gen Z’s are ruling the meetings Industry world”.
Obviously, in March 2016 I could have never imagined that something as dramatic as the pandemic could even happen outside some sci-fi movie. But then here we are.
Somehow the gap between generations that we thought was going to exist when time came to pass on know-how to the new generations from seasoned event organisers and senior management in our industry, is not there anymore.
Covid-19 did not give us the time to “pass on the relay” smoothly, and I am afraid that, at this point, the processes we were considering then are pretty obsolete now.
There is a totally new set of skills needed now on our line of business. “Digital” is the name of the game, something we –seasoned events people– had to learn how to deal with the hard way, while the younger generation did it effortlessly. Changing is hard and takes time, whereas starting anew, if you are smart and willing, is much easier and faster.
Now that we seem to slowly and finally defrost and start with our events, we all are facing the challenge of recruiting the people with the right skills for our new way of events. Suddenly the team we had before, or some of the members at least, may not be good for the work they need to perform now. Recruiting young and inexperienced people in the old fashion events and meeting industry world may have been more convenient, because of the need to learn the new tricks without the burden of having to un-learn old ones. But that has changed for good.
I would also like to mention the association world in this regard, and the challenges they are facing post-pandemic about retaining their membership, winning additional members or sponsors for their events. It is clear that doing the job the way they used to is not going to help. They need to carefully start recruiting team members with young and fresh ideas helping them with the many “how-to’s” without the “we always did it that way”, very present on managers of my generation.
To conclude, it seems to me that the way into the future is not the baby-boomers generation teaching the Millennials and gen Z’s but learning from each other and evolving in the same direction. Meaning that this jump between different ages has dissolved completely. Meaning that it’s a matter of coming of age, by all generations, together.