Keys to Latching onto Gen X Talent
Generation X, also know as the “middle child” of generations or “latchkey” kids, grew up in a time of workforce change. Born between the 60s and late 70s, Generation X experienced their mothers reentering the workforce, the economic recession of the 1970s, and the emergence of technology in the workforce. Generation X currently comprises about 60% of the workforce. This percentage is expected to grow as Baby Boomers exit the workforce in the coming years. Generation Xers are currently in mid-level leadership positions, and soon many will rise to C-level positions. So how do you recruit these rising stars? By speaking to Generation Xers in their recruiting love language.
Knowing the characteristics of Generation X in the workforce is important, so make sure you understand their drivers, the workplace perks they desire, and how they will thrive in the workforce. So if you’re ready to start, let’s begin on our Generation X exploration.
6 Ways to Talk to Xers in their Love Language
- Don’t be a helicopter leader. Generation X employees know how to pace themselves and get work done in a timely, effective manner. Leaders do not need to ask these employees for constant updates, because they are getting the work done without frequent reminders or hard deadlines. That being said, these employees may grow to resent a leader that appears to be hovering or does not allow them to implement tasks. Of course, some activities need to be monitored or approved beforehand. However, there is something said for an independent, autonomous employee.
As children, Xers learned how to work on their own at an early age in order to self-sufficient while their parents were away at work. This sense of independence and ability to navigate difficult situations did not leave them as they continued into adulthood and certainly holds strong in their work ethic.
- Up to the challenge? Xers have initiative and personal responsibility, which works well in challenging situations. Giving Xer’s responsibilities make them great teammates, especially when it comes to difficult tasks, for multiple reasons.
For starters, Xers can build a project from scratch and implement the project from beginning to end. And they are adaptable, concerned about results, and willing to roll with the punches. Adaptability is what helps Xers continue to grow in their fields and flourish with the innovation of tech. It also allows for Xers to work well with their excited and willing- to- learn millennial colleagues.
- Flex hours. Don’t be fooled into thinking only Millennials desire flex hours or work-life balance. The pendulum is swinging, and many individuals in different generations desire more flex hours.. For Xers, as many of them saw both parents work, they also saw the struggles of long hours, stress and little-to-no balance as their parents tried to climb their way up the corporate ladder. This caused a shift to changing the workplace to an arena where employees respect each other’s work and personal life. Flex options can range from telecommuting to dedicated work-from-home days.
A fair warning: If you tout flexible hours and do not deliver, Xers are more willing to leave than their Baby Boomer counterparts in the pursuit of finding a company that will deliver on their promise. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of work-life balance, some recruiters and Baby Boomer employees have misperceived this value as a weakness or Xers lacking workplace values.
- The name of the game is differentiation. As social reform rang throughout America in the 60s and 70s, many Xers grew up in a time of growing cultural and social tolerance, which fostered their belief in equality. In the workforce, this means Xers pushing for a conducive work environment that not only values employees’ knowledge as assets, but also personal experiences and differences. This allows for a constantly changing environment with new opportunities and an enjoyable work experience.
- They’ve got spirit. Xers have what is called a “business-minded” spirit and many are transitioning or already own businesses. These employees do like working with others and cultivating a positive work environment. However, according to Millennial Branding, 41% of Xers would call themselves entrepreneurs. For your company, this could translate into a variety of skills that could make Xers pertinent to your success. From project management to creating a campaign, the opportunities to foster these independent thinkers are abundant.
- What do you mean? Clarification and feedback are important to Xers, as they inherited the desire for personal and professional growth from their Baby Boomer parents. However, Xers desire more feedback than just a quarterly report. Additionally, they desire a healthy relationship with their supervisor. If they realize there is not room to grow professionally, Xers will leave to pursue a more satisfying job. This progression will become increasingly important to Xers in the coming years as they continue to save for retirement. Retirement appears to be in the distant future to most Xers because many plan to work longer than their parents, at least until the age of 65.
Marketing Automation and Generation X
Many Xers desire for feedback, initiative, and challenge should be taken into consideration. Recruiters should keep this in mind when reaching out to this strong workforce. Following up quickly after different steps of the interview process to give Xers trustworthy feedback will increase their trust and desire to work for your company. Executing these efforts can be easily done through an email marketing campaign tailored to their recruiting needs on a marketing automation platform. Xers value a relationship with their supervisors, and by implementing a recruitment campaign personalized to the candidate you are already demonstrating that your company could be the right fit for them. Remember, when reaching out to Xers it is important to emphasize the following:
- Flexible employment options
- Are you on time? Make sure that you are getting to Xers at a time that is right in their career. It shows that you are paying attention to them as a recruiter and a company.
- Follow up. Just because your company is not right for the candidate now (or vice versa) does not mean you can’t be a great pair in the future. Make sure you continue to nurture the relationship by following up with the candidate after the recruiting process.
- Employee empowerment
- Possibilities for professional growth
- Team and individual work
To learn more about how recruiting and marketing go hand-and-hand, check out this blog.
Due to the tech savvy nature of both Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, recruiters can confidently reach out to them through mobile or other devices on websites like Linkedin or Indeed where they can be largely accessed at any time of day. Do not understate this workforce, because in a few years this Generation X will comprise the majority of workforce leadership.