American Society of Civil Engineers

Steps You Can Take to Hire, Keep, and Inspire Generation Xers

by Corey N. Hessen, P.E., (Sr. Consultant, No affiliation information available.) and Brian J. Lewis, P.E., F.ASCE, (Principal Consultant, FMI Corp., Denver, CO)

Leadership and Management in Engineering, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 2001, pp. 42-44, (doi:

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Document type: Feature Article
Abstract: Like any generational cohort, the so-called “Generation Xers”—those whose ages currently range from 23 to 38—don’t all share the same attitudes and tendencies. But there are general characteristics of this age group that engineering leaders need to understand to properly prepare these younger workers for future leadership roles. For example, knowing an organization’s direction is an emotional issue for members of this generation—they want to be a part of decision making and feel they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. In addition, Xers will focus a critical eye on how resources are aligned and used, how training is applied, how rewards are distributed, and how strategies are developed. Moreover, Xers are not reticent in letting organization leaders know if they are not pulling an organization together. Incompetent leadership is not tolerated. Xers also prefer to learn through mentoring and coaching. Spending time with Xers to help them gain skills, insight, and experience will yield great dividends for managers and their organizations.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Management methods
Personnel management
Age factors