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How to Engage Generation X Employees

Generation X employees are looking for specific values in their work in order to feel engaged. If you're tasked with engaging Gen Xers, consider these points:

  • Don't pile it on. Boomers may be motivated by a heavy workload, but the opposite is often true of Generation X. Instead, independence and free agency are watchwords for Gen X. If they sense that these values aren't being honored, they'll likely become cynical about their jobs.

  • Avoid meetings. Generation X was the first generation to grow up with technology. As a result, members of this group often prefer to communicate via e-mail (or electronic bulletins or newsletters) rather than attending meetings.

  • Flexibility is key. Despite a perception on the part of some of their elders that they work less, Gen Xers usually make up for the time they've taken to attend a child's play or soccer game by working nights or weekends.

  • Offer training and development opportunities. Right now, members of this generation are quite career oriented. They see themselves as next in line to take the reins. But as older workers stay on in the workplace, Gen Xers may grow impatient. To keep them engaged, you need to make them feel that they're learning and growing. Thus, training and development are huge engagement drivers for this group.

Looking to attract and engage more Gen Xers (and Gen Yers) to your firm? Use the sheet in this figure to note what you do now in terms of CSR, workforce flexibility, innovation, rotation of assignments, and branding, and what you could do in each of those categories.

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