How to Reward Gen X Employees at Work - dummies

How to Reward Gen X Employees at Work

By Bob Kelleher

If want to engage and motivate staff members who were born between 1965 and 1980 (known as the Generation X), try these some rewards specifically targeted to Gen X:

  • Time off: Gen X brought the concept of work–life balance to the workplace, and today they’re at the age where they’re working parents with dual responsibilities. Companies should occasionally offer the option of a financial reward or an enhanced vacation or time-off benefit.

  • Professional development opportunities: Gen Xers see themselves as next in line and are often hungry for the necessary stretch assignment, executive education course, job transfer, or other opportunity to enhance their personal and professional development.


  • Accelerated promotions: Early in their careers, it was common for Boomers to wait their turn for a promotional opportunity. For example, at one engineering company I worked for, project managers were required to have ten years’ experience.

    Generation X — and Generation Y, for that matter — will not and should not wait a certain number of years for a promotion. Instead of “putting in their time,” they’ll simply quit and go elsewhere. Accelerating Gen X into stretch assignments will go a long way toward engaging this generation.

  • Technology upgrades: Generation X grew up with technology and is tech savvy. If you saddle a Gen Xer with yesterday’s technology, it will become an irritant. Giving a Gen Xer a laptop (instead of a desktop) may not, in and of itself, make her feel satisfied, but if you don’t provide it, she’ll feel unhappy.

    In other words, technology may not be critical to Gen Xers’ overall engagement, but not having it may lead to their disengagement.

  • Participation on a prestigious committee: If Gen X represents the next generation to lead your firm, why not ask them to lead the next strategic planning committee or other high-profile organizational subcommittee? Not only will this help engage them, but you’ll also benefit because their insights are different from those of their Boomer predecessors.

  • Opportunities to present to the senior leadership team: Want to engage a high-potential Gen Xer? Ask him to attend — or better yet, present at — the next board meeting, senior management offsite, or executive leadership team monthly meeting. Presenting to the bosses will be highly engaging to your high-potential Gen Xers.