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With all the talk surrounding Millennials – from how to motivate them to how to attract and retain them – are organisations subconsciously ignoring the needs of other generations in the workplace?
A global executive survey released by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry found that while Millennials (born 1981-1995) are getting the most attention in the workplace, the generation is still one of the least engaged in the workforce (23%).
On the other hand, Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) – who get about half the attention Millennials are given (27% compared to 58%) – make up the most engaged generation (52%) in today’s workforce.
“While members of each generation are critical to the workforce and their diversity of thought brings new ideas and insights to companies, organisational leaders would benefit by harnessing and rewarding the hard-work habits of Gen Xers,” said Andrea Wolf, Futurestep’s North American practice leader, human resources.
The survey dug deeper to find out what makes a Gen X employee tick.
It found that 39% of the 1,070 respondents polled felt that the “ability to make a difference in their organisation” is most important to Gen Xers in the workplace, more than double that of those who cited “job stability” (16%) or “development opportunities” (15%).
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Additionally, the survey found that this generation is fairly easy to attract and retain.
Almost half of respondents said that it is “the ability to make an impact on the business” that makes a Gen Xer would choose one job over another. Followed by “belief in the reputation and vision of the organisation” (31%).
“A sense of pride in their work” was cited as the top reason that makes a Gen Xer stay in a job (41%) with “financial stability” (24%) coming in second and “company culture” (23%) in third place.
“We find that generally speaking, Gen Xers have different priorities in the workplace than their younger Millennial colleagues, who usually place much higher priority on the culture and vision of companies for which they work,” observed Wolf.
“Gen Xers tend to focus less on the environment around them and more on accomplishing their work goals and contributing to the success of the business. As a result companies need to value their ideas and opinions and give them a voice.”
When it comes to benefits, Gen Xers are also pretty easy to satisfy, with 48% citing “pay and bonuses” as the most important benefit. This was followed by “paid time off” with 25% and retirement plans (19%).
“Talk to a Gen Xer about his or her vacation, and they’ll say they’re too busy to take one, or they had to cut it short because of work,” said Wolf.
“Employers may want to consider rewards other than extended vacation time to attract and retain this group,” she suggested.
Wolf also noted the importance of understanding generational characteristics and learning to use them effectively in order to increase the productivity and quality of work by individuals.
She pointed out: “One of the best approaches for Gen Xers is to give the tools and resources they need to do their jobs well.”
Check out this inforgaphic for the full findings: