What Motivates Employees? The Answer Depends (Partly) on their Generation

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What Motivates Employees? The Answer Depends (Partly) on their Generation
Dalahn Colley , Entrepreneur, United States, Member
The age of retirement has been moved to 60, 65, 70 years and beyond. Where each generation used to pass the baton; there is no baton being passed anymore.
We can now find multiple generations (up to 4!) working in the workplace together. There are many intergenerational differences, including work motivation. While every person is different, it is proven that generational similarities such as priorities, motivators, reward preferences etc. do exist.
What motivates employee generations...An organization has to address that when creating a motivational plan. There are currently four generations in the workforce / rat race :-). Generational trends and motivators have been researched and identified by experts. To address the employees as a group an effective leader will understand and convey the messages proven to motivate each generation:
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What Motivates Employees? What's Behind Generational Differences
Scott Greenwood, Consultant, United States, Member
The generational differences are a function of what the environment offered at the time their behaviors were being formed.
Everyone has a natural...Sign up

Multiple Generations Have there Own Characteristics
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, Premium Member
I agree that every generation has its unique characteristics. However, I believe the challenge is developing reward and recognition programs, which im...Sign up

How to Arrange Employees into Motivational Groups
Daniele, Manager, Italy, Member
Generations is only one aspect to be take into account for exploring employees motivation: culture, geography, personality, deeply influence motivatio...Sign up

Motivation is Complex and is Primarily Based on Traits
Hinda K. Sterling, Ph.D., Consultant, United States, Member
Thank you for the thoughts you presented. However, even though assigning characteristics to generations is popular, it is at best poor behavioral scie...Sign up

Generational Differences in Motivation / Communication Depend on the World Region
Loek Hopstaken, Consultant, Netherlands, Member
Communication across generations is definitely an issue, as most of us have experienced it in one way or another.
I'd like to add that the 4 gene...Sign up

We Are What We Were When
Gil Vondrasek, Consultant, United States, Member
There was a great training film from the 1980's entitled "We are what we were when". It describes quite vividly what Dalahn is describing.
...Sign up

Culture Influences Employee Motivation More than Generation
Dr Hussein Laqwer, CEO, Saudi Arabia, Member
I think the motivation for work is a cultural issue more than any other thing.
Cultures that give values for work will not show these types of di...Sign up

Age is Just a Number
Dev Sen, Teacher, United Kingdom, Member
We tend to forget the idea of "retirement" is just a recent invention. In fact the people being called "mature" come from generation where the concept...Sign up

The Relation between Maslow's Pyramid and Motivation of Generations
SAMUEL LUZOBE, Consultant, Uganda, Member
Employee motivation... Interesting! My contention is that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs scheme seems t...Sign up

We Need a Method to Efficiently Assess Individual Employee Motivation
Prasanna, Student (University), Sri Lanka, Member
Motivation levels of workers differ from one to another because of their intensity, direction and persistence toward the organizational goal differ.Sign up

Work-life Balance is the Common Motivator among Generations
Truong Thi Lan Anh, Professor, Viet Nam, Member
I would suggest there's one thing in common among generations: work-life balance that finally brings in their happiness and sustainability....Sign up

4 Generations for 4 Ways or Life
jorge eixeres, Director, Spain, Member
Imagine those 4 generations with the same instruments of knowledgement, as internet is. You can notice then that younger people are less motivated to ...Sign up

Differences in What Motivates Younger and Older Employees
Jone Sovalawa, Student (University), Australia, Member
Motivating the younger generation remains a challenge in many work places because they can be more qualified, but their salary scale will still start ...Sign up

6 Commonalities in what Motivates Employees Among Generations
Johnny Michael Tan, Management Consultant, Malaysia, Member
6 commonalities straddle the Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y! They are:
1. All three generations want to make money
2. Everyone needs to be re...Sign up

The Age of Individuals Influences their Behavior and Motivation
Danilo Mazzarol, Manager, Italy, Member
For sure the individual's age makes the difference. The different generations produce different behaviours. The HR manager has to create the best atmo...Sign up

What Motivates All Generations?
Wulf-Dieter Krueger, Teacher, Thailand, Member
What motivates all generations? Competence of and setting good examples by 'superiors'.
There might be variances according to generation, though....Sign up

Common Motivations Among all Generations
I agree that the answer depends partly on their generation. That's a fact.
But all generations also have common motivations and that's what is th...Sign up

Just Learn About the Multi-generational Workforce
JoAnn Becker, Management Consultant, United States, Member
I know a 98 yr young retired US Federal judge who still practices and gets called back to the bench to serve. All generations need to learn to work wi...Sign up

Leaders can Motivate Multiple Generations with Empowerment
karel sovak, Professor, United States, Member
I think the best indicator of a motivated employee comes from the empowerment they are given and the ability to make use of their strengths. This is n...Sign up

Employee Motivation Across Age Groups
Rebecca Kibazo-Gasque, United States, Member
@Truong Thi Lan Anh: I agree with you that work life balance and sustainability are great employee motivators acro...Sign up

How Employers Motivated Employees over the Years...
gonzalez, Management Consultant, France, Member
Since last industrial era in 1900, modern companies still have considered workers like machines or raw material. Now, this motivation has not changed ...Sign up

Motivation is Different for Different Cultures
Maia de Lourdes Larrea
@Dr Hussein Laqwer: I also think that this theory is not applicable for everyone, each culture will have different ...Sign up

It Doesn't Matter How Old People Are, they Want Only One Thing...
Angel, Teacher, Brazil, Member
A promotion, better salary, a tap on the back, etc.
Isolated or combined, they mean only one thing: recognition!...Sign up

Dealing with Responsibility / Accountability When you Grow Older
Bert Walker
@Gil Vondrasek: You wrote: "Does our birth date impact our willingness to accept accountability?"
I think that...Sign up

Generational Motivation
Vance E. Woods, Student (MBA), United States, Member
@Samuel Luzobe: Generation motivation is definitely a cultural phenomenon. It is relevant only in cultures with mix...Sign up

Two Levels of Motivation: The Natural-Purpose and the Environment-Tainted Motivation
Daniel Newton Obaka
This generational analysis comes at a time when the need to redefine value added leadership has become one of the greatest challenges of our time. The...Sign up

What Motivates People over the Generations?
Alain Kriegel, Consultant, France, Member
I agree that everyone is looking for a balance between work and private life. The equilibrium point of the balance varies with the generations.
B...Sign up

Work Motivations of Young and Mature People
Carlos Torres, Business Consultant, Member
Indeed, the different generations may have other perspectives on the meaning and purpose of their work. For over 13 years or so, I had to share experi...Sign up

Employee Motivation also Varies According to Individual Personality
Shafiul Azam, HR Consultant, Bangladesh, Member
Indeed employee motivation varies from generation to generation to some extent. But it also varies among generations in a way that psychological const...Sign up

Careful with Generalizations of Generational Imbalances in Working Mindsets
Arif ur Rehman, Professor, Pakistan, Member
@Gil Vondrasek: Another movie that comes to my mind is ‘The way we were’. Having said that we must remember ...Sign up

Baton of Experience is Not Passed among Generations
Dev Sen, Teacher, United Kingdom, Member
@Carlos Torres: indeed the problem we face as more graduates and MBA students are churned out of business school be...Sign up

The Importance of the Boss
raffaele campanella, Management Consultant, Italy, Member
I have a very clear statement in my mind, after 35 years spent in industrial organizations: "The most difficult task of a boss is to motivate his empl...Sign up

Common Motivation for 4 Generations
Dilip Khanal, CEO, Nepal, Member
Appreciation, challenge and reward are common in all generations. The Generation X'ers and Millenia's are also motivated if the work place has gender ...Sign up

What Motivates Employees? Generational Determinant
Upadhyayula Narayana Das, HR Consultant, India, Member
Ascribing motivation as a function of generation might be too simplistic a view.
One might find a veteran for whom "work is worship" and a rookie...Sign up

Motivating Younger Employees to Find Greater Depth in Understanding
Martin Noonan
Motivation is like perception. "It's not mine, its theirs" is what is most important here, irrespective of age, ethnicity, culture or position. Manage...Sign up

Age / Generations Don't Matter Much
Beddoe, Manager, United Kingdom, Member
Personally I feel these simple categories are generalising and as many others have stated do not take into account the numerous other factors which in...Sign up

What Motivates Employees from Various Generations
Ellis, Manager, United Kingdom, Member
Basic needs, such as security and recognition have always been around. All that's changed is our willingness to accept things.
The war generation...Sign up

Interesting Comments by All
Dr Gary Jones, Business Consultant, Australia, Member
All the comments are valid some coming from an academic research base, others from experience. Some of the participants in this forum have mentioned M...Sign up

What Motivates Employees: Use what they Like Most
Mbaile, Manager, South Africa, Member
For the younger generation of employees the most important aspect to use to get them motivated is, to show them what they can achieve for their person...Sign up

Motivation of Generations not Valid in Poor Countries
hendrick Sauzande, Manager, Malawi, Member
Motivation is not a direct function of generation, particularly in most poor or under-developed countries such as Malawi. As earlier alluded to by oth...Sign up

Motivation Based on Generations Alone is Suicidal
Hemant Desai, Management Consultant, India, Member
All theories give you a point of view which necessarily has to be customised for the individual being managed.
In that sense Sign up

Attributes of Generations / Cohorts
de vries, Consultant, Netherlands, Member
Generation planning is important. Not only in managing. Generations share common values but more important common experiences/ trauma's. Most trauma's...Sign up

What Motivates Employees from Various Genarations
John limpus, Australia, Member
What motivates employees is reward. This is not always monetary:
- For the Mature generation, it is the satisfaction of a job done well.
- F...Sign up

Motivations of the Various Generations
AKOM JOSHUA, Project Manager, Ghana, Member
According to Maslow, motivation need not depend on the type of generation but instead on the individual's need. It could be that certain needs would c...Sign up

Generational Traits in Employees’ Motivation
Gafar Bamikole, Accountant, United Kingdom, Member
Compared to universal motivational theories, generational traits represent a more specific concept from which other (individual) motivational variable...Sign up

What Motivate an Employee does not Depend on Generation
DOUGLAS AIDOO, Student (Other), Ghana, Member
I think flexibility in job designs and reward systems contribute greatly to employee motivation. If these fall short in a particular state of employme...Sign up

Common Denominator to Motivate Employees from Various Generations?
abraham garshong
@David Wilson: I am in line with your thinking. It is possible to have a common denominator of factors that motivat...Sign up

Various Generations Differences and Perspectives Worthy of Study
KATHRYN STEINER, MBA, Entrepreneur, United States, Member
As the parent of a 21 year old, I have to admit I find it challenging at times to step into her shoes and see how she views the world.
I can prob...Sign up

Media Motivate the New Generation?
hernando bernal, Professor, Colombia, Member
Motivation is more than perception, Alvin Toffler said family and human behavior change with the greatest exposure to information.
Since the arri...Sign up

The World Changes and that Impacts the Motivation of Generations
Naomi Elisabeth, Indonesia, Member
Change can be associated with this topic. I mean, the world is changing over a century, decade, or even years.
There are so many factors causing...Sign up


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