Solving for Gen. X: Managing the Neglected Generation

Solving for Gen. X: Managing the Neglected Generation
From Recruiter - August 11, 2017

I was born in 1979. According to some,that makes me a millennial; others sayI am part of Gen. X.

Let me tell you: Its a lot more fun to be a millennial than it is to be a Gen. X-er. Millennials get all the attention; they are the younger Marcia to our flannel-clad Jan.

In terms of management practice, many articles on the subject zero in on baby boomers and millennials, with nary a mention ofGeneration X. To an extent, I understand why this happens: The work world of the 70s is miles away from the world world of today. Still, I cant help but feel a little hurt by the fact that there are no lists or tomes dedicated to managing me! (See? I am part millennial after all.)

Today, Im going to write the management guide Ive been waiting for. Im going to tell you how to manage the Gen. X-er in your midst. Why? Because someone needs to do it! Generation X accounts for almost a third of the workforce. You may be failing a third of your office by not learning how to manage Gen. X. Heres how to change that:

Generation X and Flexibility

We Gen. X-ers are an adaptable bunch. We knew how to do work before all these fancy computers and iPhones showed up. Whereas everyone in our office under 30 stops working when the internet is done, we Gen. X-ers get to work on things that dont require the internet, like scheduling meetings or writing offline.

Adaptability is an extremely useful skill in the workplace, and Gen. X has it in spadesmaybe because the economy collapsed just as we were graduating college and then again in the middle of our careers. We understand that nothing good lasts forever, whether its Kurt Cobain or the Silicon Valley bubble.

How can you use this knowledge to manage Generation X? Here are a few tips:

1. Allow for Gen. X-ers to Manager Their Own Time

Not only will this give Gen. X-ers a sense of control, but also your Generation X employees will probably do a better job of managing their time than you would. They know which tools, both traditional and cutting edge, to use for which job.

2. Let Them Work Independently

You can put a Gen. X-er on a team, but youcant make them collaborate. For the most part, Generation X wants to work pretty independently. They feel it is more efficient, faster, and encouragesinnovation. Whether you agree or not, try to avoid putting your Gen. X-ers in long meetings, pairing them up, or assigning them to teamwork-heavy projects.

3. Encourage Them to Take a Break

Your Gen. X-ers will burn out unless you make them take a break. It might be tempting to suck every minute out of your workaholic, but overworking them will only lead tolow-quality results. Focus more on the work theyve provided andtime management skills. Encourage them to go home already! Gen. X is pretty cynical, so if you flat out say they arent giving you their best because theyre burnt out, theyll believe you.

4. Give Them Remote Work and Flexible Work Arrangements

While millennials may be hitting the point at which they start getting married and having kids, Gen. X-ers are dealing with all that and more. From second marriages and ailing parents to kids heading off to college or coming home with young families of their own, this generationis squeezed very tightly. You can keep your Gen. X-ers from getting so exhausted they leave with a few simple tweaks to PTO and by offering flexible arrangements that make it easier for them to manage all their obligations.


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