There have been a lot of articles about the legacy of the Baby Boomers or the habits of the so-called Millennials. But what about the generation in between? What can the people of Generation X offer for your business? In this article, we can look at the potential benefits of GenX.
To be clear this is about broad social trends- naturally this won’t apply to all people born within a generation and it is important to be flexible with a range of people. It is also important to consider other factors such as class, race, gender etc.
Somewhere in between
Roughly speaking Generation X can be defined as just after those born in the fifties and sixties but just before those born in the Nineties. This technically makes them between two different cultures.
One big advantage with this is that it means you have someone who is aware and able to use modern technology while at the same time not being beholden to it. This can also be useful in terms of approach- they may not be the “work hard, play hard” of an early generation but may be more driven than a generation that may not be as enthused by offices or being part of a work culture.
This is also in the sense that while Millennials are just finding their feet the Baby Boomers are on the verge of retirement. By contrast the Generation X workforce is motivated more by a desire to engage and be part of a workforce.
In a recent survey, Generation X employees were found to be high scoring in terms of generating revenue. Naturally if this is what you want for your business having people who are capable of getting you more money are worth having on board.
The fact is there are very few jobs for life now. Thankfully Generation X employees are more likely to be able to adapt as they adjust to needing new skills and training.
A recent study also suggested that Generation X employees recognised themselves as problem solvers and collaborative. For obvious reasons this is important- ideally you want people who are prepared to work together and prepared to solve problems using their own initiative rather than trying to do so on their own or to continually require feedback.
Of course, it should be made clear that there is no perfect generation and there are things to be mindful of when looking at employing an individual from Generation X.
One potential problem is that may not always be able to have an executive presence in the same way that someone from the previous generation may be able to and in some cases, they may be less capable of being cost effective. Furthermore, if you don’t offer the flexibility they require then they may not stay on board.
To be clear these are broad trends- it is fair to say not everyone will fit them and it is important to be flexible. That being said the trends are widespread enough that having the right company culture in place can be enough to retain the best talent from across the generations.
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