Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Generation X

Generation X, born 1965-1979, is the first generation to demonstrate a substantial shift in priorities in comparison to previous generations. While their parents lived to work, Gen Xers value work/life balance. When faced with a task, they strive to find the most efficient way to get the job done in order to get on with life. They are typically individualistic, technologically adept and very flexible. These traits tend to make them more focused, relaxed and happier employees.

Education & experience

Approximately 60 percent of Generation X has some college education, and current surveys estimate that 30 percent of Gen X has earned a college degree. At this point in their careers, Generation X employees should be performing jobs at a highly skilled level. Gen X is convinced real job security comes from possessing and developing knowledge and skills, so their resumes tend to be among the most expansive and impressive.

Generation X qualities

Generation X is well-educated and highly motivated. They know that their future is in their hands. They are self-reliant, pragmatic, informal, fun-loving and technologically connected, and they value new learning opportunities.

Recruiting Generation X

Generation X is online and tuned in, works well in groups and is well networked. Finding them should be easy. When conducting a job search, they will submit their resumes directly to employers, contact recruiters, network, use social media to spread the word, post on job boards and search listings. They are not lifetime employees. They are mobile, adaptable, cynical and less likely to be lured by promises of retirement because they’ve seen too many companies, and pensions, fail. They are interested in personal savings options that they can control and take with them if they leave, performance-based incentives, and flexible schedules that allow more time to attend important family functions.

To lure Generation X, focus on your company image. Generation X wants a company that aligns with their beliefs and philosophies. As carefree as they may seem, they want a stable company they can believe in, free of ethical issues — a company they can feel good about working for and where they feel valued.

Retaining Generation X

Generation X members have young families, and they value flexible schedules and financial stability. Offer them team-building exercises to engender a family atmosphere. Provide small rewards in the form of stress-relieving perks such as gym memberships. Health- and budget conscious Generation Xers appreciate in-house gyms, nearby parks and on-site eating facilities where they can interact with colleagues. Integrate family with work via a daycare or after-school care facility, and Generation Xers will be very unlikely to turn elsewhere.

Inspiring Generation X

Generation X works best as part of an integrated team. They prefer informal, rapid communication. They also like to be openly recognized and given rewards that they can use outside of the office. Gen Xers value flexibility, many would refuse a promotion if they feel the quality of their home life will be compromised. Give them a relaxed work atmosphere where ideas can flow freely and a work area that facilitates communication.

For more information on how you can recruit, retain and inspire a multigenerational workforce, request a free copy of our white paper. In our next Generational Diversity blog post, we will discuss Millennials (Generation Y). For more insight or to add new talent to your workforce, contact your local Special Counsel branch.

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