Tips for Motivating Different Generations of Employees

It is essential that for any business to succeed, it has to start from its people. However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ method of motivating employees in any business. We are moving into an age where population is ageing, and work is becoming more and more digital. It is already difficult enough to manage a team itself, but managing a multi-generational team poses a greater challenge as each generation brings a distinct set of values, attitudes and behaviours.

HR policy is the key in motivating different generations of employees to work together as a team and provides all staff the opportunities to contribute. Read on to learn about the various generations we can expect in the current and coming workforce, the broad differences in their career goals and how your company can seek to motivate your employees.

Baby Boomers

Born in the period 1946 – 1964, this is a generation of hard workers who largely focus on having a strong work ethic and strive for individual success.
Motivation tools:
1. Provide opportunities for professional development by enabling access to a variety of resources that may include but are not limited to workshops and seminars that mainly cover areas in learning new technology;
2. Enable their position of respected authority be it in the form of a mentor, manager or simply an advisor;
3. Ensure recognition of their achievements at work, whether big or small;
4. Offer workplace benefits that largely focus on retirement and medical benefits.

Generation X

Born in the period 1965 – 1980, this is a generation of strong communicators that are most independent and highly educated.
Motivation tools:
1. Encouraging Work-Life Balance by allowing flexible work schedules, working hours and implement team building or family day events to build good relations amongst employees;
2. Offer workplace benefits that largely focus on family benefits that may include childcare vouchers etc.;
4. Ensure recognition of their achievements at work, whether big or small;
5. Provide opportunities for professional development by enabling access to a variety of resources that may include but are not limited to workshops and seminars that mainly cover areas in management development.

Y Generation (also known as ‘Millennial’)

Born in the period 1980 – 1995, this is the generation that is relatively more tech savvy, environmentally & socially aware as well as more conscious of their personal image.
Motivation tools:
1. Encouraging their expression of creativity and Involving their opinions at work;
2. Provide opportunities for professional development by enabling access to a variety of resources that may include but are not limited to workshops and seminars that mainly cover areas in personal skills development;
3. Offer meaningful activities as part of team building events.

Z Generation

Born in the period 1996 onwards, this is the generation that is born into a digital world. Despite having yet to be introduced in the workforce now, you can certainly expect that this is the generation that will have the greatest impact on the way we work in the future.
Motivation tools:
1. Organizing out of work activities for socializing amongst employees. This may be in the form of short overseas trips, team building events or simply after work drinks;
2. Provide opportunities for professional development by enabling access to a variety of resources that may include but are not limited to workshops and seminars that mainly cover areas in managing finances and saving schemes;
3. Have in place mentoring platforms to facilitate skills improvement and personal development.

Putting the differences aside, all employees ultimately want to be engaged at work and have a manager who helps them achieve specific goals in their career.

Businesses can start by seeking to provide their employees with tailored opportunities for professional development, upholding work-life balance as part of their corporate culture and ensuring a system in place that garners proper recognition of employees’ achievements. Business leaders must not forget to encourage employee engagement across generations in the workplace in order to avoid negative stereotyping across generations and instead, take advantage of the unique diversity of ideas that each generation has to offer to grow the business.

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