10 Oct Why Companies, Global Mobility Specialists Roll Out Tailored Benefits to GenXers
Are Gen Xers the forgotten middle child based on how American media coverage tends to swing from highlighting the youngest generation to the oldest (Gen Zs or Millennials against Baby Boomers), both ends of the age spectrum? Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen Xers are preternaturally caught in the middle as a generational sandwich, having inhabited both analog and digital worlds. But there’s more to this generation than meets the eye.
These mid-life workers bear a great deal of responsibility. They’re multitasking — caring for aging parents and providing for school-aged children, all while navigating their own lives, health and careers. Somehow they’re involved in 3 generations — and many of them are in or are ready for senior leadership positions.
Companies and global mobility specialists are recognizing these developments — and looking into them with more flexibility and understanding. This generation is seasoned to thrive and lead companies even in their later years, all while multitasking.
How Gen Xers differ from other generations
Generation X differs from other generations in key ways:
- Compared to Baby Boomers, Gen X is less focused on traditional hierarchies and status symbols. They embrace change and ambiguity more readily than Boomers.
- Unlike Millennials, Gen X values quality time and efficiency at work over logging long hours. They are more independent and self-reliant, preferring self-direction over constant collaboration.
- While Boomers gravitate toward established systems, Gen X is comfortable charting new territory and processes.
- Millennials thrive on collaboration, whereas Gen X takes a more insular approach to problem-solving and productivity.
Beyond the comparisons
Beyond the comparisons, it is important to foster open communication across generations and also build an inclusive workplace. Companies need to offer diverse mediums for connecting and encouraging intergenerational collaboration. Partnering younger and older employees on projects facilitates mutual learning. Recognizing the unique value of each generation is also key.
Implementing rewards and recognition programs that provide meaningful benefits for impactful work, regardless of age, further reinforces contributions. Encouraging cross-generational bonding, communicating across mediums, collaborating on teams, and rewarding based on merit rather than tenure or age all enable companies to optimize a multigenerational workforce. With the right culture, employers can tap into the best each generation offers.
It just so happens that Gen X displays hallmarks of both older Boomers and younger Millennials, yet retains a distinct perspective shaped by their unique historical context and lifetime experiences.
Understanding these generational differences allows employers to optimize value from a multigenerational workforce. Based on a report by the BBC, companies are addressing the specific health and lifestyle concerns of the new midlife workers.
Companies with Gen X benefits
For instance, sales software company Salesforce recently launched an eldercare benefit for employees caring for older family members, as well as cancer-related programming for early detection targeted at the 50-plus demographic.
Adobe, for its part, provides services to assist employees in managing the university admissions process for their children, along with access to backup eldercare and in-home care consultations. Support for menopause is also emerging at many global companies, both large and small.
By acknowledging the unique pressures and transitions Gen X employees face at mid-life, innovative companies can attract and retain this experienced cohort while enabling them to thrive both at work and home.
Strong emotional connection
The tremendous benefit: Organizations are not only providing financial assistance, they’re building a strong emotional connection – they’re showing that they care.
Why do companies do it? Research shows custom benefits can increase retention 11% and productivity 12%. This is critical for retaining senior Gen X leaders.
By moving beyond one-size-fits-all benefits to target offerings to life stages, companies realize that tailored benefits boost retention and performance. They know supporting employees through life stages can increase their focus and productivity at work. This includes assistance with caregiving, menopause, and career transitions.
Innovative mid-life benefits boost Gen X loyalty and output when flexibility and support are most needed. Strategic benefits aid with finite life reflection and celebrating older workers.
Even if Gen X employees don’t use their benefits, it signals that employers value and care about aging employees.
Top priorities of Gen Xers
From the perspective of this generation, healthcare and retirement benefits are top priorities. They want to protect savings and prepare for the future. Offering traditional medical, dental, vision and 401K plans with multiple choices provides security.
Gen Xers need ways to shield retirement funds from healthcare costs. Tax-advantaged accounts like Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangement and a High Deductible Health Plan are appealing options.
With competing family demands, flexibility is valued. Remote work, flexible schedules and childcare support enable Gen Xers to balance work and life.
Gen X values core health and financial benefits plus flexibility. Global mobility professionals should be able to inform companies that this is the way to boost loyalty and performance.