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Generation X: How to Train and Manage Them

Oct
13
2015
Generation X: How to Train and Manage Them

Today’s Human Resources conundrum is that an army of Millennials are joining the workforce while so many Baby Boomers are staying employed past retirement age. And let’s not forget about Generation Y/Z and their supreme tech fluency! Could it be that we’ve forgotten about Generation X, the folks stuck woefully in between?

For those who don’t know, Generation X was born in the post-World War II baby boom between the early 1960s and early 1980s; there are about 50 million people that fall into this demographic group. The oldest “Gen Xers” are in their early 50s, and in the business world many now occupy the C-suite in their companies.

There are two key characteristics that impact how Generation X should be managed and trained:

  1. Gen Xers are very tech savvy. Though they didn’t grow up online like Millennials, they were the first to adopt the Internet, personal computers, email, and smartphones. This adaptive comfort with technology enables them to keep up with younger, inexperienced Millennials while far surpassing the technological competencies of the Baby Boomers.
  2. They are a very independent group and like to set their own agenda. They prefer to lead, loathe micro-management, and have the drive to grow into those management positions being regularly vacated by their parents’ generation.

Over the years I’ve become familiar with helpful techniques to effectively train and manage this group, and I am sharing their success tips here.

Training Gen X

Generation-workersGen Xers respond better to customized training solutions. “Off-the-shelf” group training does not easily keep their attention and the learning experience itself—because training is another word for teaching!—will alienate rather than motivate them. Explore training methods that are unique, unfamiliar and, most of all, engaging. When possible, you may even involve the staff in developing the curriculum. Keep in mind that the core information won’t change simply because of the alternative learning method.

Because Gen Xers have proven competent and comfortable working with computers, incorporate on-demand training, including audio and video tutorials that can be accessed from a home computer or through the company intranet. This type of fast delivery and instant gratification can work well with this group’s tech proficiency and motivational tendencies.

Motivating Gen X

Gen Xers seek growth and upward mobility. They may seem somewhat impatient, especially those fast approaching their peak earning years, but the drive to advance oneself can be tapped with great potential. Looking at your organizational structure and staffing needs, devise a growth plan that shows clear action steps and allows the Gen Xer a feeling of control over where they are going. There is even stronger motivation when a reward system is in place that acknowledges their experience and professionalism.

Motivation can also be found in opportunities to mentor younger, unseasoned staff. It engenders respect for the “veterans” and admiration for their accomplishments. You may even fit a colleague mentorship program into your customized training strategy.

Generation X is here to stay. It’s time to recognize their prominent place in the business hierarchy and ensure they are properly trained and motivated so they can maintain a high quality of work deserving of their generation’s grand reputation.

 

For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, gail@ubsassociates.com or call (516) 935 5641.

By admin October 13, 2015