Generation X: How to Understand and Work with Them Better

three women posing together

Generation X, Gen X, or post-boomers are all names given to people born between 1965 to 1981. This group is significantly smaller than their previous and succeeding generations, contributing only to around 30% of the total population in Australia. Although they were the last one to experience middle-class stability in many advanced economies, they were also the first to feel the economic decline.

Generation X has been pointed out as “gloomy, curmudgeonly ghosts,” sometimes altogether forgotten by many articles. If you search the Internet for “Generation X,” there are about three million results, compared to 48.8 million for “millennials” and 11.5 million for “baby boomers.”

But after buying land for sale in Donnybrook, there is a need for you to know and understand this nearly forgotten generation better. According to a survey, the majority of employees and perhaps your colleagues in Donnybrook will most likely come from this group. So what to expect when working with Gen Xers?

Independence and Resourcefulness

executives looking at a laptopGeneration X came of age in an era of working and/or divorced families. Coming home to an empty house after school meant that this group became independent and self-sufficient at an early age.

This is translated to their dislike of micromanagement at work. In order to work well with Gen Xers, you have to allow them a certain degree of autonomy. They need time and space to perform well and get projects done on their own. Instead of providing them with step-by-step instructions on performing a job, Gen X employees work best when they are taught to understand the desired outcome.

While millennials may be interested in getting quarterly performance discussions, 44% of Gen X employees prefer the standard annual discussion process. While they don’t appreciate breathing-down-your-neck tendencies, they actually appreciate constructive feedback to improve their work. Interestingly, they are less averse to getting the needed feedback, positive or negative, than other working generations. It is no surprise that studies revealed this generation as the hardest-working Aussie employees.

Work-life Balance Over Corporate Loyalty

Many people from Gen X saw their workaholic parents lose their hard-earned jobs in the economic downturn. This could very well be the reason the people in this demographic cohort do not believe in working overly long hours and dedicating their entire lives to work.

Unlike previous generations, Gen Xers will not hesitate to switch companies when presented with the opportunity to move up the career ladder and meet their financial obligations. Additionally, they appreciate the fun in the workplace. This ties back to their value of independence.

For the most part, this also causes them to be unfortunately disengaged in their work. Citing results from Mercer’s “Inside Employees’ Minds” research, 50% of employees in this generation feel stuck to a job and do not have the flexibility to make changes in their careers due to several factors and commitments. In fact, corporations will arguably have a tough time meeting the needs of Gen X employees who are in the middle of their working life, compared to the younger, much enthusiastic millennials and older baby boomers who use their pending retirement as constant motivation.

Gen X employees prefer balance in every sense of the word. When it comes to work, they are open to receiving and providing constructive feedback to get the job done. At the end of the day, they just want to get in to work, get the job done, and move on.

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