Generations by COVID: Gen X – Achievement driven but increasingly work-life conscious

Author: Ashley Smith, Research and Strategy Director

Gen X doesn’t grab all the headlines but they are arguably the financial lifeblood of the economy, and directly employ or manage a significant number of Australians. Their spending levels are extensive which makes them critical to brands. Sandwiched between caring for ageing parents and raising children, Xers are often overwhelmed.

How have they changed as a result of COVID-19?

Xers have been on a COVID-19 ‘rollercoaster’ ride. April saw a spike in intensity of emotions and insecurities over their health and financial outlook. This was followed by a sense of renewed optimism and ‘calming down’ in June. Despite their initial concerns (which were largely perception based), COVID hasn’t really impacted their health and finances that much. Still there are lingering phobias about returning to pre-COVID activities. COVID has given Xers a renewed focus on family and close friendships – a ‘sense check’ on work-life. They are also eating more healthily and exercising more.

What is their dominant motivational need right now? What do they want to feel more of?

Achievement. Versus 2019, Xers have become even more driven to achieve and get stuff ‘completed’.  While the average Aussie is looking for ways to get things done in this new world, the Xers, true to their drive and ambition traits, are more focused on achieving the actual outcome. They are motivated by seeing these outcomes (e.g. mortgage paid, kids healthy and happy, parents safe), more so than new ways to do things.

Something else they need that sets them apart?

Over 40% think that restrictions are lifting too fast (versus 33% for all Aussies). Xers are the most likely group to say they won’t engage in certain social activities when restrictions lift.

Top Priorities for Employers?

Recognise that not only younger generations feel the need for praise and a sense of importance.

Support the need for greater work-life balance through flexible working arrangements.

Top Priorities for Brand Owners?

Show how you support the motivational need of Achievement and getting things completed so Xers can feel successful and useful.

Communication that focuses on the finished product or the outcome will be more emotionally compelling.

Capitalise on the renewed focus on family and friendships. Many Xers are resetting the button on work-life, how can you facilitate this?

Top Priorities for CX Strategy?

Generally, experiences that drive successful completion of tasks will be valued – for example tracking delivery, 2 mins to complete etc. Make it is easy to get to the finish line.

For relevant sectors, your experience needs to give the confidence to participate again in key external and social activities.


About Motivational Needs and Mindsight®

These core human motivational needs help to explain our behaviour – why a person choses your brand over another brand, engages with a new product or doesn’t, recalls and engages with communication etc. 

We can’t detect these motivational needs by asking direct questions – they are non-conscious and difficult to articulate for everyday people. As a consequence, our research uses Implicit or ‘System 1’ techniques to uncover. 

MindSight® is the tool we use. It is a technology enabled neuroscience tool. Combined with Sprouts framework templates and expert behavioural scientists we deliver a significantly deeper understanding of humans and new insights to unlock new opportunities and growth.