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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Generation X

Generation X refers to the demographic cohort born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s, following the Baby Boomer generation and preceding the Millennial generation. The exact years that define Generation X can vary slightly depending on different sources and definitions.

Generation X grew up during a time of significant societal and technological changes. They experienced the advent of personal computers, witnessed the rise of the internet, and were influenced by cultural shifts such as the Cold War's end and globalization's emergence.

Members of Generation X often exhibit distinct characteristics shaped by their unique upbringing. They are known for their independence and self-reliance, as many grew up in dual-income or single-parent households. This generation faced economic challenges and witnessed job market fluctuations, which fostered their pragmatic and adaptable nature.

Generation X is often associated with a sense of skepticism and a questioning of authority and institutions. They came of age during social and political upheaval, including events like the Watergate scandal, the AIDS crisis, and economic recessions. These experiences influenced their worldview and fostered a critical mindset.

What is Generation X? 

Generation X refers to the demographic cohort that follows the Baby Boomers and precedes the Millennials. It is a generational term for individuals born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s. The exact boundaries for Generation X can vary slightly depending on different sources and definitions.

What years are Generation X? 

Generation X is typically defined as the generation born between 1965 and 1980. However, the range has some flexibility, and different sources may use slightly different years to define the generation.

Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

How old is Generation X?

As of the current year, 2023, individuals belonging to Generation X would generally be between the ages of 43 and 58. Again, this age range may vary depending on the years used to define the generation.

Why is Generation X ignored? 

Generation X is often called the "forgotten" or "ignored" generation because it has been overshadowed by the larger and more discussed Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. This may be due to several factors, including the sheer size of the Baby Boomer cohort and the significant media attention given to the Millennial generation in recent years. 

As a result, Generation X has sometimes been overlooked in discussions and media coverage, leading to a perception of being ignored.

How did Generation X get its name? 

The term "Generation X" was popularized by a book titled "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture," by Douglas Coupland and published in 1991. Coupland used the term to represent the generation that came of age in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

The term "X" was chosen to symbolize the generation's perceived anonymity, as they were seen as a bridge between the dominant Baby Boomer generation and the emerging Millennial generation.

What are the characteristics of Generation X? 

Generation X is often characterized by certain common traits and experiences. Some key characteristics include:

  • Independence: Generation X grew up in an era of increasing divorce rates and both parents working, leading to a sense of self-reliance and independence.
  • Pragmatism: They tend to be practical and resourceful, adapting to the economic challenges and uncertainties they faced.
  • Skepticism: Generation X is known for being skeptical and questioning authority and institutions.
  • Technologically adaptable: While not born into the digital age, Generation X adapted to technology and witnessed the rise of the internet.
  • Work-life balance: They value a work-life balance and prioritize personal fulfillment and flexibility in their careers.

What does Generation X want? 

The desires and aspirations of individuals within Generation X can vary, but some common themes often emerge. Generation X typically seeks:

  • Financial stability: They desire financial security and stability, striving for a comfortable lifestyle and planning for retirement.
  • Work-life balance: Generation X values a healthy work-life balance and seeks flexibility in their careers to accommodate personal and family responsibilities.
  • Authenticity: They appreciate genuine and transparent interactions and tend to prefer brands and experiences that are authentic and meaningful.
  • Career growth and fulfillment: Generation X seeks professional growth and fulfillment opportunities in their careers, aiming for a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their work.

It's important to note that these characteristics and desires are generalizations, and individuals within Generation X can have diverse perspectives and goals.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

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