With so much buzz lately about millennials in the workplace, the value of Generation X in the workforce (those born between 1965 and 1981) tends to be forgotten. They are sandwiched between two larger and drastically different generations (Baby Boomers and Millennials) and are often described with the term “America’s neglected middle child”. So if your business has done a lot of catering to millennials (whose careers are just beginning) and Baby Boomers (who are getting ready to retire) lately, it’s time to refocus your efforts on recruiting and retaining Generation X employees.
Generally between ages 36 and 51, Generation Xers are at the pinnacle of their careers. At this point they have quite a bit of experience, but are also not ready to retire anytime soon. They can relate to both millennials and Baby Boomers, making them excellent leadership material for your organization. They value independence, having a life outside of work, and take a huge sense of pride in their job. For workplace statistics on Generation X employees, check out our infographic below:
When recruiting Generation Xers into your workforce, you are bringing in talent whose main objective is to make a difference in your organization. Here are some tips for recruiting and retaining Generation X employees:
1) Invest in Training and Developing Their Skills
Generation X employees want to make a difference and will go to any lengths they need to do so, but only if they feel you are invested in them. Show you value Generation Xers by training them in multiple departments, allowing them to participate in professional development seminars and other programs and providing tuition assistance. Also, make time on a regular basis to connect with them and ask what you can do to help them grow as a professional. Emphasize your organization’s commitment to individual professional development when recruiting Generation X employees. Pay close attention to what your employees’ strengths are, and tailor their training and responsibilities to this as much as possible. Many employers may fear such an investment would cause employees to become so talented that they move on, but the opposite is true. Without professional development, education opportunities and ongoing training opportunities, you won’t have much luck retaining Generation X employees.
2) Take Care of Their Needs
Generation Xers are in their parenting years, and many of them also have elderly parents that need their help. If you want any success in recruiting and retaining Generation X employees you must be accommodating to their needs. This means offering flexible work arrangements and benefits such as on-site day care, paid paternity and maternity leave and college savings programs. Also, to ensure you keep Generation Xers around, take an interest in how their families are doing and anything else you can do to make their lives easier.
3) Pay Them Well, But Go Beyond That
Since the stock market crash in 2008 had a huge negative impact on the retirement savings of Generation Xers, attractive 401k plans are essential to many of these employees. And since getting paid based on the results of their work is a huge motivating factor for Generation Xers, pay raises and bonuses are also important. But while generation X employees value financial stability, but they also value having a life outside of the office. So you can use competitive pay as a method of recruiting and retaining Generation X employees, but it can’t be the sole factor you use to attract them.
4) Don’t Hover Over Generation X Employees
Generation X employees are more motivated if they feel that you can trust them. And while they want you to challenge them, promote their career development and guide them in making a difference at your company, they don’t want to be micromanaged. Give them objectives to meet, but let them figure out how to meet them. Trust in their skills and experience.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.