When it comes to generational recruiting, most of the focus has been on Millennials. Now, with the emergence of Generation Z, the focus is shifting once again. But what about Generation X? Between Baby Boomers retiring and Gen Z entering the workforce, it seems like Gen X has been completely forgotten.
According to Pew Research, Gen X can be defined as anyone born between 1965 and 1980, and in 2017, there were roughly 53 million Gen Xers in the U.S. workforce—for comparison, there were 56 million U.S. Millennial workers in 2017, so there isn’t that big of a difference. However, Millennials continue to be the largest demographic in the workforce, and many recruiters and employers have shifted their efforts to recruit this age group.
Because Gen Xers still hold a prominent place in the U.S. workforce, don’t forget they exist! Also, remember that their priorities differ vastly from the younger generations you employ. Because of this, your recruiting strategies must be different, especially with the benefits you are offering.
David Kilby, President of FinFit, a workplace financial wellness platform, joins us in the following Q&A to discuss what types of benefits attract and retain Gen X workers.
The Great Recession of 2008 impacted many, but for Gen X, the most notable effect was the stock market crash that resulted in many, stocks, retirement savings, and 401(k)s being depleted. While the economy has since recovered, not too many retirement savings accounts have.
HR Daily Advisor: What can employers offer to Gen X workers to make sure they’re on track when it comes to retirement savings?
Kilby: Gen X is the next generation to retire after the Baby Boomers leave the workforce, so it’s essential to help these workers understand how saving now can prepare them to retire comfortably. These employees are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are likely to increase contributions to their retirement account.
Many Gen Xers have just finished paying off their student debt or their mortgage, and they’re now in a better position to start saving. They are often extremely cautious about the amount of risk they take on, as many of them saw their parents’ generation lose a considerable amount of money in the recession.
Offering them financial calculators and educational information to help them visualize what their retirement savings will look like in the future can be as important as offering a healthy 401(k) match. They want financial stability now and in the future; employer support and contribution to their savings are important for this generation.
HR Daily Advisor: Obviously, health insurance is a big “must have” for all workers, but when it comes to Gen X, is there any other type of insurance that employers should offer?
Kilby: Gen Xers have been around long enough to understand the importance of having insurance beyond health, dental, and vision. Life insurance is a great benefit that many companies are starting to offer their employees, and it is one that Gen X takes a liking to.
Aside from that, offering resources for easy access to home, pet, vehicle, renters, and even boat insurance is an attractive benefit for Gen Xers. They’re looking for stability, so they’re often willing to spend the extra money on ancillary insurance products to have that sense of security.
Many insurance carriers offer volume discounts, so if a majority of employees are interested in the same benefit, employers can offer the service and enable employees to take advantage of additional savings.
HR Daily Advisor: Other than retirement savings and health insurance, what other types of benefits can employers use to attract and retain Gen X workers?
Kilby: Gen X workers value job security and career advancement. If employers support their career goals, Gen Xers can be very loyal. They are also looking for work/life balance—their overall well-being is extremely important to them.
A popular benefit that employers across the country now offer is a financial wellness program. Holistic financial wellness solutions help busy Gen Xers assess their current financial situation, identify their goals, and stay on track. The solutions are unique to their personal situation, which is also key for Gen X workers. They want benefits that speak to them personally and don’t involve much effort to decode and utilize.
As an independent, self-sufficient generation, Gen X employees want to make their own decisions, but they would also like financial resources to confirm their chosen path. They want to make sure they are maximizing their savings and investments in a way that supports their unique financial position. Many in this generation have children, aging parents, and other responsibilities that factor into their financial decisions. Giving them a way to efficiently keep their finances in order is a benefit that is perhaps more important to this generation than any other.
There are a number of financial solutions this generation is looking for that workplaces have the ability to offer. Accessible online credit and banking solutions; savings accounts with automated contributions; loan consolidation options; early access to their paycheck; and money transfer services are the types of services and solutions that save time and make dealing with finances more convenient for Gen Xers.
It’s important to offer them benefits that have real-word applications, as well as tangible, immediate effects. If they see progress and an improvement in the quality of life for them/their family, they’re more likely to continue to explore the products/services offered.
HR Daily Advisor: What other advice would you give recruiters/employers that are looking to attract Gen X talent?
Kilby: Gen Xers have been part of the workforce for most of their lives now, so they’ve likely had positive and negative workplace experiences. They know they work hard, but they react well to affirmation from their employer indicating they are valued and appreciated.
Sometimes, it’s the little things like office lunches, starting the weekend a little early, or getting to wear shorts in the summer. We bring in a car detailing service a few times a year, and our employees really appreciate this perk. And make it personal—we do personalized football jerseys for their favorite team, and we wear them on Fridays during football season.
Kilby adds this final tip: Offering the benefits is great, but having a culture that supports employee participation and teamwork goes a lot further.