In today’s organization, it has been seen up to five generations working at one place at one time. And this provides a depth of experience, skill sets and energy, it also presents unique challenges. The generations have its own way of thinking, working and processing information. So it’s important to create a culture that meets the varying needs of each age group.
Let understand first, about the different generations, and what motivates each:
Baby Boomers: Born: 1946 – 1964
Baby Boomers are technologically talented, ambitious and more goal- oriented also motivated by promotions, professional development, a desire to be in a position of authority, and having their expertise valued being acknowledged. They prefer recognition from their peers rather than their supervisors, and they do prefer monetary rewards and value non monetary rewards such as flexible retirement planning. They do not require constant feed backs.
Generation X: Born: 1965 – 1980
Generation X is smaller than the previous and succeeding generations, but they’re often credited for bringing work-life balance. This is because they saw firsthand how their hardworking parents became so burnout. Members of this generation are in their 30’s and 40’s had spent a lot of time alone as children. This created an entrepreneurial spirit with them. In fact, Gen X makes up the highest percentage of start-up founders at 55 percent.
They also value opportunities to grow and make choices, as well as having relationships with mentors. They believe that promotions should be based on competence and not by rank, age, or seniority. Gen X can be motivated by flexible schedules, benefits like telecommuting, recognition from the boss, and bonuses, stock, and gift cards as monetary rewards. Even if they’re not starting their own businesses, Gen X prefers to work independently with minimal supervision.
Generation Y (Millennia’s): Born: 1980 – 1995
Millennia’s (Generation Y) are tech-savvy generation and is currently the largest age group in the country. They’re in their 20’s and are beginning to come into their own in the workforce. They’re the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. This generation content with selling their skills to the highest bidder. That means unlike Boomers, they’re not as loyal. In most cases, they changes one organization to another. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t motivate this generation; you can motivate them by offering skills training, mentoring, feedback. Culture is also extremely important for Millennia’s. They want to work in an environment where they can collaborate with others. Flexible schedules, time off, and embracing the latest technology to communicate are important for Gen Y.
Generation Z: Born: 1996 Onwards
Generation Z who born 1996 onwards are more interested in social rewards—mentor-ship and constant feedback—than money, but this generation also motivated by meaningful work and being given responsibility. They always keen to know how their work impacts the organization and their role in the organization’s big picture, they always seek for exciting projects which passionate them. They challenge businesses to think about their operational model. This also is the most tech-savvy of the generations. If Millennial’s [Generation Y] were multitaskers, then this group is multitaskers on steroids, and members typically are plugged into five devices at once.
In rewards they prefer include recognition from the boss, experiential rewards and badges such as those earned in gaming. This generation expects workplace flexibility and diversity. Preferred recognition style: regular in-person public praise.
We understood about the different generations, there types and what motivates each, now we let’s understand how to motivate each:-
- By eliminating stereotypes
The biggest reason professionals from different generations are, they don’t want to work together effectively because of preconceived notions about how a certain generation behaves. The Millennial feels that baby boomers are technologically impaired, inflexible and closed-minded, while baby boomers think that millennia’s are entitled and lack a strong work ethic. To eliminate the negative consequences of making assumptions about people’s behavior is to avoid doing it yourself. Being a leader, it’s important to eliminate stereotypes in the way you express yourself and in the way you treat your employees. Whereas, it’s important to evaluate each employee based on their own merit and be mindful of doing so. Too often we succumb to stereotypes without realizing it. So pay attention to the assumptions you’re making about each of your employees, and try eliminating these stereotypes.
- Avoid assuming everyone is on the same page.
When assigning team projects, don’t assume or avoid making general statements about the tasks assuming that everyone processes information the same way. Different generations might understand in different ways, leading to unnecessary clashes when they try to work together.
Before assigning tasks, review the instructions for the following:
- Make sure that they are clear and specific.
- Avoid trendy abbreviations or acronyms.
- List a deadline by date and time.
- Make sure everyone’s role is clearly defined and the point person on the project is identified and understands their role.
- It may require some extra time and effort of yours, but when instructions and expectations are clear, your team will be able to work together more effectively regardless of their age.
- Prepare common ground/Make them agree on common goal.
To make your employees work together, make them to agree on common goal. If there is a motivational factor or goal that speaks to all of your employees, they are more likely to come together to achieve it, no matter how different their strengths or personality type is. That’s your job to determine what’s motivating factor could be.
Think about the following:
- Does the project have a positive effect on society in general? For instance, do you want to implement a new process to reduce environmental waste?
- Does this project help your clients of all age groups? Making out the benefits for older clients and new clients will avoid any inner feelings of favoritism.
- Does this project address a common value important to all of your employees, such as family, personal fulfillment or communication?
- Find their strengths.
While eliminating stereotypes, it is true that every generation has its own skill set. And pairing teams or assigning projects make sure everyone is able to do something that they are good at. For example, if you are working on a new social media campaign, it may be helpful to team up a millennial who knows how to hash tag with a baby boomer who has more experience with client relationships. The baby boomer can provide insight on what clients respond while the millennial can help with phrasing for better social media exposure.