What You Need To Know About GEN X!

You probably already know that different generations operate differently in the workplace.

You might know this from personal experience or from reading articles and attending seminars.

Whatever the case may be, it is always helpful to understand more about the people who work for you—how they tick, what’s important to them, and how they’re motivated.

Generation X (Born 1965 to 1984)

This week’s article is about Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1984.

Core values and descriptors of Generation X tend to be:

  • Balance (including work life balance)
  • Diversity
  • Fun and entrepreneurial
  • Independent and self-reliant, yet adaptable
  • Global thinking
  • High expectations
  • Ethical
  • Results-driven
  • Not afraid to test or question authority

What do Generation X’ers want to see in the workplace?

Though it differs from person to person, Gen X generally values the following, in terms of work environment and job perks.

Important work environment attributes

  • Functional, results-oriented
  • Fast-paced and flexible
  • Dynamic leadership
  • Progressive technology
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Informal and fun

Important perks

  • Flexibility and time off
  • Ability to have fun and express themselves
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Regular feedback and job structure
  • Ability to question processes and ideas
  • Freedom to divert from rules

In addition, Gen X’ers prefer straightforward and frequent communication, and use email as their main communication tool.

Integrating with other generations

Gen X enjoys collaborating with others and sharing their unique perspective.

By electing them as mentors to those in other generations, like Millennials, Gen X’ers can make contributions and share their knowledge.

In turn, this helps the Gen X learn new approaches and expand their leadership skills.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd explains, “‘Am I continuing to learn and grow?’ is a question that resonates with employees of all ages.”

Providing other learning and growth opportunities

Because improving and broadening their skills is especially important to Gen X, make ample room for your Gen Xers to do just that.

For example, you can:

  • Invite them to lead meetings and projects
  • Send them to workshops, learning seminars, and conferences
  • Offer tuition reimbursement for university credit
  • Include them on company or department decisions
  • Ask for their input on processes and redesigns

Not only will you be engaging Gen Xers with these actions, you’ll be benefiting from their keen perspective and expertise as well.

“Gen X-ers are entrepreneurial-thinking,” shares Vivian Giang in a Business Insider article.

Another big motivator

Perhaps more than any other generation, Gen Xers value flexibility.

A survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that, “Gen X respondents ranked workplace flexibility as the most important perk.”

This includes flexibility in their work schedule, work location, time-off benefits—as well as the ability to work on important projects.

Continuing to engage and motivate Gen X

If you’re curious about how to engage this important and valuable group, download the free guide: Motivating Different Generations.

We dive into what motivates other generations as well, so you know just how to encourage each person on your team.

Have an interesting way you’ve motivated Gen X or other generations?

I’d love to hear about it! Send me an email or give me a call anytime.


Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!