Closing the Gap on Generational Motivators

Employers often wonder what motives employees?  Most employers are quick to answer money.  However, each generation has different life experiences and therefore key characteristics that drive their motivation.  So, before throwing money in attempt to get the most of your workforce spend a little time understanding them.

Understanding each generation:

  • Traditionalists:  born from 1922 to 1945 lived through WWII, know what it is like to go without and are considered minimalists;
  • Baby Boomers: born from 1946- 1964 are known as the “me” generation, huge demand for goods and services and driving force behind the economy since 1940;
  • Generation X: born from 1965- 1980 experienced the soaring divorce rate and high number of single parent households; cautious of commitment and committed to technology;
  • Generation Y or Millennials:  born from 1980- 2000 are known as the “we” generation; politically engaged and are collectively going to fix what the Boomers messed up, have a “you owe me” attitude; lives and dies by technology.

Considering today’s workplace is multi-generations, and each generation has unique life experiences, how do we motive workplace of differing employees?  Here are 6 quick tips on just how to accomplish closing the gaps;

  • Conduct an employee satisfaction survey.  Let employees tell you what they value.  The “fallacy of management” is a group of decision makers sitting around a boardroom table thinking they know what motivates their employees.
  • Look to the past; each generation has obtained characteristics from their experiences, environments and life events.  Look at each individual generation and identify what their needs and values are.  For example: annual pay increases are only slightly valuable to Traditionalists, valuable to Boomers and Generation X employees and absolutely valuable to Generation Y employees.
  • Ensure there is fairness within your employee recognition programs/awarding compensation strategies.
  • Reward long term strategies/goals and not just short term “it” items.
  • Create a common goal and tie motivators to what matters to the organization.  This will create a commonality between generations and make it easier for employees with different communication and work styles to work in a team environment;
  • Consider rewarding the group, not just the individual.

There are many ways companies can educate employees on how to respect, understand and work with different communication and working styles including making generation discussions part of their on-boarding process as well as classroom curriculum.

Employee at a laptop and wearing headset

Diversity is a competitive business strategy.  If you want to develop a customized generational, or broader, diversity program in your workplace call us today at 902-877-1887 or send us an email by completing the form below:

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