Call them the double decker sandwich generation. Many members of Generation X must care for their aging parents as well as their own children. Gen Xers are also caught in the middle at work between upper-management Baby Boomers and cost-less-to-hire Millennials. How a company makes Gen X feel wanted in the workplace may come down to answering this question: what company perks really matter to Generation X?
Generation X: Working to Live
It’s been said that Baby Boomers live to work. They heard stories of their parents living during the great Depression, so Boomers put job security above all else. Generation X, having been raised by single parents or parents who worked outside the home, has chosen to maintain a healthier work-life balance. Unlike Boomers, they’d rather work to live.
Since Gen X represents the next wave of leadership for many companies, an online Forbes article offers tips on benefits and perks that would appeal to Gen Xers who are caring for their parents and kids. These include long-term care insurance, college savings programs, and a flexible work environment.
In a list of 10 factors for hiring and retaining Gen X employees, dcjobs.com includes understanding their need for work-life balance. Suggestions include flex-time, part-time work, and telecommuting.
So, when it comes to benefits and perks, what do Gen Xers themselves want?
The 2016 Employee Perks Report
To help understand what perks employees most value, Group Health (now Kaiser Permanente) conducted a survey of nearly 1,500 employees across a variety of Washington state industries. Participants were asked to choose their top three perks from among 15 listed. Options included everything from paid parental leave to dependent care subsidies, leadership training to alternative medicine.
Key findings include:
- Generation X wants control of their work life. Of 15 perks, flexible hours was first choice.
- Health insurance and paid time off are more important to Gen X than Millennials.
- Generation X seeks stress relief—no doubt because of mortgages and kids in college.