5 Verticals of Reskilling and Upskilling Gen X Employees Need

Almost all business organizations across the globe have great diversity in their workforce in terms of generations. In fact, having a multi-generation workforce can be a competitive advantage as there is quite a lot to learn from each other. To elaborate, millennials and the following generations will have a lot to learn from the enormous experience and expertise of Gen X. Along similar lines, Gen X will feel quite inspired looking at the innovation and agility of millennials. Such knowledge sharing will be ideal for high employee engagement and motivation. 

However, we also need to pay heed to skill development in addition to knowledge sharing. If we look at generation-specific skill sets, millennials and Gen Z workers look fairly accomplished. This is because their skills are quite coherent to the skills that are critical to professional success in contemporary times. On the other hand, the skillset of Gen X employees may seem a little too orthodox in contrast to the kind of extraordinary skills needed for future success. Having said that, as an HR manager, you should consider extending reskilling and upskilling opportunities to your Gen X employees. 

In this blog, we shed light on the key dimensions of upskilling and reskilling that generation X employees need. This may be vital for keeping them engaged and productive in a corporate world progressing too fast. So, without much ado, let us get started.     

Dimensions of Reskilling and Upskilling Gen X Requires

1. Virtual Collaboration

We have all been witnesses to some massive overhauls in the business world that have happened in the last two to three years. The culture of remote working is now growing at a rampant pace, and virtuality is the new normal. In fact, the future of the corporate realm is remote, and we would see telecommuting boom even further. To validate, as per Forbes, 70 percent of the global workforce will be in remote working arrangements by the end of 2025.

However, for organizations to make the most of the prowess of telecommuting, employees ought to be comfortable around automation and technology. If that is not the case, it will hamper their individual productivity as well as the overall organizational efficiency. Now if we compare working generations in terms of digital literacy, millennials and Gen Y workers are in awe of technology. They do not face issues working around digital channels that facilitate remote work. However, that may not be the case with all your Gen X employees. 

Your Gen X employees may be the sincerest of all, but they require large-scale reskilling and upskilling in terms of digital literacy. The focus here needs to be on virtual collaboration skills along with developing proficiency in digital communications. As an HR professional, you already know how crucial collaboration and strategic communication are for an organization to succeed. In fact, as per SalesForce, 86 percent of executives and employees opine that the leading cause of project failure is ineffective collaboration.

Having said that, even though your Gen X employees may have excellent collaboration skills, they need to upgrade them to collaborate virtually. They need to reskill themselves so that they can work around digital collaboration and communication tools with ease and efficiency. This is where they may require proper training to optimize their digital skills. The better they adapt to the growing virtualization, the more beneficial it will be for the organization. 

2.Emotional Intelligence

The notion of intelligence has new dynamics and implications in this reinvented corporate space. Emotional intelligence or EQ is the new buzzword in the business world, gaining even more popularity than IQ. In fact, it has become one of the most quintessential professional skills paramount for future success. To explain, as per PR Newswire, 95 percent of HR managers assert that employees ought to have impressive EQ skills. To augment, more than 20 percent of employers believe that EQ is superior to IQ.

Paying heed to the definition, EQ is an individual’s ability to understand their own emotions as well the feelings of others in an efficient way. Besides understanding emotions, EQ is also about managing emotions in a worthwhile way and channelizing them in the right direction. People who have high EQ have the unique ability to focus on positive outcomes in the midst of all sorts of emotional influences. 

To add, those who have prolific EQ skills do not get overwhelmed by emotions. They do what is appropriate to do in the best interest of their productivity and their organization’s betterment. Otherwise, when employees are inefficient in managing their emotions, their efficiency remains vulnerable. At times, even people with high IQ get undone by the influx of strong emotions. This explains why EQ is now looked at as a more vital trait of productivity than IQ.

Moreover, it is vital to note that EQ in itself is a broad spectrum of skills that add to an individual’s or organization’s success. The components of EQ are cited below.

  • Self-awareness 
  • Intrinsic motivation 
  • Empathy 
  • Self-regulation 
  • Social skills 

As you can see, each of the above dimensions is a key contributor to productivity and performance. When your employees have high EQ, you can create a more cohesive workforce that manifests active employee engagement. Needless to say, EQ is a more popular idea among generations succeeding Gen X. However, in the best interest of your organization, your Gen X employees, too need to work on this essential vertical of skill-building. 

Having said that, conducting EQ training in the workplace for Gen X employees will be a great idea. By investing in their EQ skills today, you can add more value to your organization’s advancement in the future. Better EQ will also ensure that your Gen X employees are able to manage their stress better. Otherwise, as cited in an article by Forbes, this generation is the least happy generation in the workplace. With EQ, they will learn how to destress after work in an effective way.

3.Creative Intellect

In contemporary times and for the times ahead, employees from Generation X need to work on their creativity. This is for the simple reason that creative intellect has now become a key dimension of competence. To substantiate, as per the World Economic Forum, creativity is integral to nine of the top ten employability skills for the future. To add, as cited by IBM, the majority of CEOs are of the opinion that creativity is of utmost importance for future success. 

With creative intellect, employees in your organization will be able to cultivate great innovation. This innovation is salient for any organization to sustain its growth in the longer run. After all, creativity and innovation are two critical facades of brilliance in the modern business world. When your employees begin to embrace creativity, they will be able to think outside the box. This unconventional thinking will help your organization to thrive amid the ever-evolving competition. Their enhanced creative intellect will also add more prowess to their problem-solving skills.

Probing further, while millennials and Gen Y score high in being creative, Gen X may still find itself caged in traditional ways of working. However, their resistance to innovation and creativity may not go well with the ambitions of your organization. As the HR manager, you ought to find ways to promote creativity among your Gen X employees. The whole process, of course, needs to start by explaining to them the imperativeness of creativity in the workplace. Following that, you can take a thoughtful approach to this domain of upskilling. 

4.Resilience and Adaptability

As discussed above, corporate transformations are taking place at a fast pace. In the future, with more dependence on technologies like AI and IoT, we can expect more frequent changes. Besides, with frequent transitions and growing competition, challenges in the workplace will amplify too. Of course, you do not want these developments to take anything away from the organization’s overall productivity.

For that, you need to work on making your employees more resilient to challenges and adaptable to changes. Such upskilling may require laying more emphasis on your Gen X employees. Unlike millennials and Gen Z people, Gen X is not much comfortable with changes and challenges. In fact, Gen X employees gravitate more towards the ideas of stability and persistent patterns. 

However, in the best interest of your organization, these dynamics need to change. If we are looking forward to massive transformations in the near future, the need of the hour is to build a resilient workforce that can adapt to changes in a brisk way. Both resilience and adaptability are pivotal to an individual’s character and efficiency. Your employees’ adaptability will also define how agile they are. You should always aim to create a work environment that embraces changes and challenges. Help your Gen X employees incorporate these crucial skills into their personalities.

5.Leadership Skills 

With more and more millennials and Gen Z employees joining the global workforce, Gen X has to lead the way for them. Having said that, it becomes significant that Gen X works on polishing its leadership skills, taking into consideration the dimensions of modern leadership. Needless to say, Gen X holds vast experience in contrast to succeeding generations. A perfect blend of this experience and traits of effective leadership will make them valuable assets for an organization.

Therefore, business leaders in your organization ought to groom Gen X employees for enchanting leadership. Being the HR manager, you will have a pivotal role to play in order to facilitate this kind of mentoring. After all, your Gen X employees have to set an ideal template for the millennials and Gen Z. 

Their leadership will have a great impact on engagement and motivation among millennials and succeeding generations. Training them for effective leadership correlating to the latest workplace trends, tools and styles are hence necessary. When they are put in leadership positions, they should not feel overwhelmed by advancements in the work environment. 

To encapsulate, Generation X represents a considerable share of the global workforce. The overwhelming experience of this generation is, of course, salient to any organization. However, it is undeniable that they ought to upgrade their skills with a proactive approach to remain competitive. Their reskilling and upskilling is quintessential for developing skills that are the most relevant to the new-age corporate world. For organizations to achieve their futuristic goals, HR managers need to plan creative strategies for filling the skill gaps in the workforce. 

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