Category Archives: Gen X and Y

Which Generation in the Workplace is More Able to Handle a Recession?

Which Generation in the Workplace is More Able to Handle a Recession?

Businesses these days are in a unique position in which there are four generations in the workplace. First, there are those who have been working for years and who, in better economic times, would be close to retiring. Then there are the Baby Boomers who are approaching retirement and, in many cases, caring for aging parents and working with their adult children to pay off student loans. There are also the Gen-Xers (30-somethings, mostly) and members of Generation Y. Each of these generations is going to be impacted by the economic recession.

With the current economic recession which, according to economic strategists, has been going on since December of 2007, those at the helm of a business who are seeing four generations in the workplace are gaining additional perspective on the impact of the economy. This is particularly true when looking at each of the generations and seeing how they respond to layoffs or a flat salary.

The most mature workers – those who, in a different time would be retiring and who, in some cases have returned to the workforce after having spent some time in retirement – are going to find themselves in a position in which they do feel that there is some threat of losing their job. However, these veteran workers do have an advantage in a recession: their approach to working and earning has long been to earn money for the sake of putting it away and being able to pay cash for the items that they want.

The Baby Boomers, in many cases, are finding different challenges with the current economic tide. In part, this is because the Boomers are the first generation that approached purchases with a buy now, pay later concept. While some are prepared for retirement, others are finding that with home values dropping and stocks losing value and credit card debt are going to have an impact on when they will be able to retire.

Members of Generation X tend to be a bit more conservative than the Boomers, focusing on saving as much as possible. However, the youngest of the four generations in the workplace – Generation Y – approach work as an opportunity to earn the money that they will turn around and spend on technology, cars, clothing and other items.

Ultimately, it seems that of the four generations in the workplace, the most mature workers – the Traditionalists – are going to have an advantage simply because they have been saving for an extended period of time. The Generation Xers who follow the trends and are more cautious and conservative with their money will also find that they are in a position to ride out a recession. It’s the Baby Boomers who are unprepared for retirement and the youngest members of the workplace to whom saving isn’t a concept that they practice who will face the most challenges./

While the Traditionalists are likely to be in the best position to handle layoffs or not receiving a holiday bonus, they are also going to be in a position to pass their insights down to others. Those who are struggling more with the recession will find that they do have one advantage: thanks to four generations in the workplace, they will be able to benefit from saving tips and advice that they receive from those who are more prepared for tight financial times.

The Battle for Talent is Heating Up, Are You Ready?

The Battle for Talent is Heating Up, Are You Ready?

This is an interesting time in the history of business – workplace dynamics are in the midst of a huge shift. Baby Boomers in their 60’s are running into the challenges of managing the very different needs of those in the Y generation. In fact, so much focus has been placed on these two sizeable generations colliding in the marketplace, that the generation in between them, Generation X, has been largely forgotten.
As Boomers begin to plan for retirement and Gen Y enters the workforce, freshly developing their skills and experience, who will businesses look to for leadership in the interim, but Generation X?
The problem for businesses? Gen X is the smallest generation of the three, which means the talent pool for effective managers is much smaller than the generation before them. Between the ages of 33-46, Xers have the skills, knowledge and experience to take over leadership roles from Baby Boomers but will they want to work for you? And if so, how will you retain them?
To make sure your company has the competitive edge in hiring and retaining these leaders, you must get to know the mind of this Breakfast Club Generation and what they value, how they learn and how to best utilize their strengths in the marketplace. Companies also need to begin to implement leadership training programs tailored to the needs and desires of Xers, creating mentoring and job shadowing programs that will help retain this generation.
The Mind of Generation X
Unlike their predecessors, who were driven by a need for security, Gen X is driven by the desire for autonomy and change. Independent risk takers, Xers take more chances than those who came before them – even leaving the stability of a long-term job to take a chance on something new.
Gen X has a completely different outlook on careers and the workplace. This is a generation that watched their parents be downsized after a lifetime at a “good job,” and they have not forgotten that sobering lesson. Companies no longer have the luxury of employees who spend 30 years, unquestioned in their employ. Xers do not rely upon employers for their long-term stability. They value an environment that is stimulating, that lets them have a say in their work life and future.

This generation also watched their predecessors work tirelessly, at the expense of family life, only to be turned out into the cold. Because of this, high on a Xer’s list is a healthy work/life balance. Generation X defines their level of success by how well work fits into the demands of their home life and will leave in order to keep that balance equitable.
How to Attract, Retain and Train Gen X for Leadership
* Adopt generation specific recruitment materials, training and management approaches
* Create opportunities for growth within the organization
* Make them partners in success, encouraging creative solutions and autonomy
* Give them a voice, soliciting opinions frequently
* Develop a practical retention policy based on the needs of Gen X
* Offer flexible schedules and work from home opportunities to help Xers achieve their desired work/life balance.
In order to successfully cultivate and retain the leadership qualities of Generation X you have to consider the value differences between the generations in your career coaching style. Understanding these differences in lifestyle, workplace philosophy, and work ethic can build a bridge for the future of your organization.
Copyright, Cecile Peterkin. All Rights Reserved.