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

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Dalahn Colley
Entrepreneur, United States

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

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:
The generational names are debatable but these are the names I chose to use:
1. The Matures are born prior to 1946. They believe work is an obligation, no news is good news, their employer respects their experience and professionalism. Their satisfaction is gained from a job well done.
2. The Baby Boomers are born between 1946-1964. They view work as an adventure, want to be valued and needed by their employer. They don’t appreciate criticism and work for money, title and recognition.
3. The Generation X’ers are born between 1965-1980. They view work as a contract, want to do it their way without rules. They also feel freedom is the best reward and will seek feedback as opposed to waiting.
4. The Millennia's are born between 1981-1994. They view work as a means to an end, but want meaningful work done with other bright creative people, and want everything to manifest with the push of a button.
(Source: Lesonsky R., 2011).

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