Generation X: Independence, Flexibility & Recognition Are Keys To Motivation


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Generation X: Independence, Flexibility & Recognition Are Keys To Motivation. Generation Xers are technologically engaged and a surprising number have become entrepreneurs because of their internal drives, independence and strong beliefs in a work/life balance.

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Generation X: Independence, Flexibility & Recognition Are Keys To Motivation

  1. 1. R e t a i n e d   E x e c u t i v e   S e a r c h  Construction Facilities Management Real Estate Engineering  Pi8sburgh 724.935.7500 G E N E R AT I ON X : Independence, Flexibility & Recognition Are Keys to Motivation - by Sami L. BarryManaging a diverse workforce is challenging with each generation having different values, attitudes, work ethics andgoals. But imagine if your organization had only one generation of employees? Having a variety of skill sets andperspectives on your team is much more effective and beneficial. Knowing how to engage and motivate these diverseemployees is the key to growing and differentiating your company.As part of our Workforce Generation Series, the focus of this article is Generation X, those individuals who wereborn from approximately 1965 to 1978. As of September 2011, Generation X currently makes up 42% of theAmerican workforce. It is considered to be the 13th generation of American citizens and the first group of latchkeykids who were more known for watching television and playing video games than for playing outside or using theirimaginations. Many experts go on to say that Generation X is the first true Information Generation.There is no denying that Generation Xers are a result of theirchildhoods. Growing up in an environment of a faltering economy, PERSONAL TRAITSparental divorces and the increase of adult women and mothers re- ‣ Skeptical.entering the workforce during their childhoods, these individuals ‣ Adaptable.have interesting mindsets and work ethics. Simply put, they are ‣ Resourceful.hard workers but if you don’t give them the flexibility and feedback ‣ Love of learning.they seek, they probably won’t stick around for long. In fact, manyfrom this generation have become entrepreneurs because of their ‣ Work to Live mentality.internal drives, independence and strong beliefs in a work / life ‣ Technologically engaged.balance. ‣ Don’t like to waste time. ‣ Entrepreneurial mindset. Historical events that shaped their early lives ‣ Value fun and informality. AIDS ‣ Motivated by self-improvement. Diversity ‣ Open and honest communication. Challenger Disaster ‣ Enjoy working hard and playing hard. Fall of the Berlin Wall ‣ Financially cautious and conservative. Operation Desert Storm Reagan / Bush Administration ‣ Strive for feelings of community and family. Women / Mothers Re-Entering the Workforce ‣ Self-loyalty, independence and self-reliance.Significant Increase in Parental Divorces / Many Were Latch-key Kids ‣ Career is considered only part of one’s life.
  2. 2. P RO F E S S I O N A L C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S ‣ Results-oriented. ‣ Like a team environment but prefer to be treated as individuals. ‣ View colleagues as friends. ‣ Enjoy working for innovative and forward-thinking ‣ Flexible work style is ideal. organizations. ‣ Strong abilities to multi-task. ‣ Practice informal, straightforward and efficient ‣ Work / Life balance is critical. communication. ‣ Uninhibited to change the rules. ‣ Thrive in an egalitarian culture with collaborative ‣ Informal relationships with superiors. leadership style. ‣ Belief in open dialogue to resolve conflict. ‣ Expect quick recognition and rewards, inclusion and opportunities to grow. ‣ Maximize use of resources and technology. ‣ Competence and skills of colleagues are more ‣ Ability and preference to work autonomously. respected than seniority or authority. ‣ Want to know exactly what’s expected of them. ‣ Less loyal to employers due to many of them seeing ‣ Motivated by professional development and flexibility. their parents lose hard-earned positions. how can you motivate generation x?Give constant feedback. Set clear expectations.For Xers, feedback is the key reward and they want it on a Xers want to know what the goal is, what their responsibility isweekly and/or daily basis. They do not like waiting around for it in achieving it and how long they have to do it. They want to doas that decreases their motivation. their job well and quickly so that they can move on to their next challenge.Provide autonomy.Xers do not like being micro-managed. They desire autonomy Provide opportunities to learn and develop.and independence. Even though they also enjoy being part of a Xers like new and challenging assignments. By continually givingteam, they want to be viewed as individuals. them new projects that will test and expand their abilities, they remain engaged. Training and professional development isOpenly recognize their achievements. required to keep them.Xers want recognition both privately and publicly. Measure their performance by results, not hoursReward them with the benefits they really want. spent in the office.Attractive benefits for Xers are: flexible work hours, ability to Xers are willing to work hard and give it their all but if it beginswork remotely, and vacation and flex days. to adversely affect their family and home life, they may begin to look for other oppportunities.Stay abreast of technology.Growing up as the first real technology generation, Xers do notlike wasting their time with slower, outdated technology. Sami L. Barry performs Strategic Market Development for Helbling & Associates, a retained execuAve search firm specializing exclusively in faciliAes  management, construcAon, real estate and engineering. She is a member of the Washington Building Congress and the Green Building Alliance.  To subscribe to Helbling’s Quarterly Navigator e‐NewsleNer or Assignment Alerts, visit our website at  Social Media: Blog: TwiNer:  @helblingsearch