Generation Xers are America’s middle children; born during a time of declining birth rates, they total 46 million in the U.S., compared to 80 million Boomers, and 78 million Millennials. They straddle the television era of the Boomers and the high-tech era of Millennials. They arrived somewhere in between, and at times it can feel a bit alienating.
Despite making up a smaller percentage of the workforce, it is important to keep your Gen X staffers engaged, especially now as they are hitting their most productive career years (age 33 – 53). Here are some tips for interacting with your Gen X staffers and keep them engaged in your department.
Think Self-Reliance: Unlike Boomers, Xers were often the children of women who went to work outside the home or single parents. They learned independence at an early age and learned to trust their own decisions. They learn the same way too; they would rather discover things on their own instead of being told what to do without explanation.
Understand them as parents: Wanting their children to have a different childhood than their own, many Gen X parents are heavily involved in their offspring’s schooling and activities. Therefore, it makes sense to pay attention to these concerns and give them the tools to help them stay involved; benefits like flexible hours can help them stay involved in both work and home life.
Use technology: Although they didn’t grow up with iPhones, this generation is universally more comfortable with technology than Boomers. Also, because they’re in the midst of their careers, they don’t have a lot of time, so using technology to make matters more efficient is always welcome.
Recognize them: With Boomers staying at their jobs longer, some Xers may feel that they are perpetually waiting in the wings to be recognized. Therefore, you’ll want to single them out as decision-makers and leaders whenever possible.
Source: Leadership Daily Advisor
For more advice on bridging the generation gap, check out Managing the Intergenerational Nursing Team.