According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the negative label sometimes given to Generation X – slackers – may be holding them back in the workplace. New data reveals they are being overlooked for promotions at higher rates than employees from other generations.
Gen Xers follow the Baby Boomers and precede Millennials. Researchers use birth years ranging from the mid-1960s to the early-1980s. Although this generation of adults should be peaking in their careers, many Baby Boomers are staying in the workforce longer than previous generations, which also could be impacting Gen Xer’s advancement.
According to CNBC, more than half of Baby Boomers are delaying retirement into their 70s, and still trying to advance in their careers. Why the delay? Financial insecurity and rising health care costs are two primary factors. Layer on top of this all of the focus on Millennials and the fact that we don’t hear much about the group, and Gen X often gets the short end of the stick.
We are noticing the trend, but are Gen Xers? Yes they are. Only 58 percent of Gen Xers think they are advancing within their organization at an acceptable rate, as compared with 65 percent of Millennials, and 40 percent are contemplating leaving to advance their careers. The latter is a staggering number.
What Can I Do? According to Stephanie Neill, a contributor to HBR, leaders can retain and develop their Gen Xers by doing three key things: Personalize learning and development, provide Gen Xers with more external guidance, and use data to add objectivity in hiring and promotion practices. Pew Research unflatteringly referred to Gen X in a 2014 report as America’s neglected middle child, but you don’t have to. With more than 70 million Gen Xers in the workforce, they are a generation that needs to be talked about, managed, and promoted. They, too, are our future leaders.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.