Thursday, September 11, 2008

How key motivators differ across generations

From established Silent Generation employees to the Generation Y newcomers, workplace values and communication methods can vary greatly. Understanding the key differences among generations and what keeps them motivated at work can help you keep employees engaged and job satisfaction high.

The following are some findings from Engaging a Changing Workforce: A Study of Four Generations, by The Learning Café.

The study focused on four main groups: Millennials or Generation Y (born between 1977 and 1998), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), and the Silent Generation (born between 1933 and 1945).

Everyone looks for a challenge

Across all generations, the top motivator was the same - “challenging, stimulating, varied work,” but different generations define the statement differently.

Millennials want to work on a variety of substantial, important projects that allow them to learn and use new skills. Baby Boomer and Silent Generation want their work to make a meaningful impact on the success of the organization.

Motivational differences across generations

Millennials and Gen Xers want career growth, learning and development. Gen Xers identify with older employees in the importance of their work making a difference.

Millennials list pay as their second most important motivator.

Gen Xers were the only group to include “healthy work/life balance/flexibility” high on their list of workplace motivators.

Baby Boomers value appreciation and recognition for the extra hours and hard work they put in.

The Silent Generation wants autonomy and the ability to innovate.

Demotivators by age group

All generations, place “boredom, no challenge” as a top four demotivator. Three out of four of the generations find frustration when unabe to learn, grow and develop.

Gen X noted “no work/life balance” and lack of development as top demotivators. Learning and development are the key factors to retaining Gen X employees, being that 77% would leave a job for more intellectual stimulation.

The top demotivator for Baby Boomers is a lack of appreciation, respect or recognition. The Silent Generation is similar to the Boomers, citing “feeling undervalued” as their top demotivator.

Bad bosses disliked across all generations

All generations placed having a “bad boss” as one of their top four demotivators, but each generation uses different qualities to define a “bad boss.”

Gen Xers don’t like to be micro-managed or have a boss who is insensitive to their need for work flexibility and family values.

Millennials want a boss who is like a coach or mentor and dislike bosses who play a more formal or hierarchical role.

Generational workplace conflict

Boomers who wear the number of hours worked each week as a badge of honor may look at Gen Xers as slackers because of their need for work/life balance.

Boomers and Millennials may bump heads in their different views of workplace interaction. Hard-working Baby Boomers dislike fun-loving Millennials who like to socialize in the office instead of being isolated in a cubicle.

Because of their different views regarding the workplace, generational conflict may be inevitable. However, understanding the differences across generations in the workplace can help you build teamwork, motivate and train employees despite their conflicting views.

No comments:

Brought to you by