It is no secret that both Baby Boomers and Millennials are constantly in the limelight, but what about the Gen Xers; you know, the generation born between 1965 and 1983 (ish)? Have we forgotten the significant impact they have had on the business world and as consumers? In the wise words of Lockton Benefit Group’s Mike Smith, Assistant Vice President and Solutions Consultant, Gen Xers are the Jan Brady generation, while Boomers and Millennials are the Marcia generations.
“Why does Marcia get everything? Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”
Xers, also referred to as the latchkey generation, grew up in a time of serious social and economic disruption. However, despite maturing during a trying time, members of this generation have persevered, led and witnessed many major developments. For example, they transitioned from rotary phones to cell phones, and typewriters to computers. (Noticeably absent from the list: fashion trends of the 80s). In many cases, they are the reason for the change. In the workplace, Xers know the meaning of hard work and doing what is necessary to meet the financial needs of their families and/or future.
Here’s the thing: as Boomers retire or move to consulting roles to supplement retirement income, Xers are perfectly positioned to take the reins. Sure, Xers are way outnumbered by those Marcia Brady Millennials, but with a unique combination of skills found in generations before and after, they cannot be ignored.
In areas such as learning and development and succession planning, organizations have an opportunity to tailor solutions not only to younger generations but also to the experiences of Xers. While some may not find this a necessary expense, we believe that companies concerned with reducing turnover and making employees feel valued will see the light. Instead of this being a daunting undertaking, technology is advanced enough to consider the unique and complementary skillsets of multiple generations.
As Xers continue to adapt, it is clear that associate development options like online training, or microlearning, are well-received by the Jan Brady generation. As we transition into 2017, microlearning will become even more prominent, especially for organizations wanting growth and/or globalization.
So, based on history, we can expect to see Xers using their determination and resources to remain relevant in the workplace. We predict that microlearning will play heavily into both onboarding and retention. So, even though Millennials and Generation Z (a generation we didn’t even touch on here!) are viewed as the digital wizards, we would be unwise to count out those in the Jan Brady generation, despite their seriously bad hair trends.