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

Expectancy Theory
Knowledge Center

Best Practices

Sign up

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).

  Scott Greenwood

What Motivates Employees? What's Behind Generational Differences

The generational differences are a function of wha (...)

  David Wilson
Manager, Canada

Multiple Generations Have there Own Characteristics

I agree that every generation has its unique chara (...)

Manager, Italy

How to Arrange Employees into Motivational Groups

Generations is only one aspect to be take into acc (...)

  Hinda K. Sterling, Ph.D.
Consultant, United States

Motivation is Complex and is Primarily Based on Traits

Thank you for the thoughts you presented. However, (...)

  Loek Hopstaken
Consultant, Netherlands

Generational Differences in Motivation / Communication Depend on the World Region

Communication across generations is definitely an (...)

  Gil Vondrasek
Consultant, United States

We Are What We Were When

There was a great training film from the 1980's en (...)

  Dr Hussein Laqwer
CEO, Saudi Arabia

Culture Influences Employee Motivation More than Generation

I think the motivation for work is a cultural issu (...)

  Dev Sen
Teacher, United Kingdom

Age is Just a Number

We tend to forget the idea of "retirement" is just (...)

Consultant, Uganda

The Relation between Maslow's Pyramid and Motivation of Generations

Employee motivation... Interesting! My contention (...)

Student (University), Sri Lanka

We Need a Method to Efficiently Assess Individual Employee Motivation

Motivation levels of workers differ from one to an (...)

  Truong Thi Lan Anh

Work-life Balance is the Common Motivator among Generations

I would suggest there's one thing in common among (...)

  jorge eixeres
Director, Spain

4 Generations for 4 Ways or Life

Imagine those 4 generations with the same instrume (...)

  Jone Sovalawa
Student (University), Australia

Differences in What Motivates Younger and Older Employees

Motivating the younger generation remains a challe (...)

  Johnny Michael Tan
Management Consultant, Malaysia

6 Commonalities in what Motivates Employees Among Generations

6 commonalities straddle the Baby Boomers, Gen X a (...)

  Danilo Mazzarol
Manager, Italy

The Age of Individuals Influences their Behavior and Motivation

For sure the individual's age makes the difference (...)

  Wulf-Dieter Krueger
Teacher, Thailand

What Motivates All Generations?

What motivates all generations? Competence of and (...)

  WALTER Pascal

Common Motivations Among all Generations

I agree that the answer depends partly on their ge (...)

  JoAnn Becker
Management Consultant, United States

Just Learn About the Multi-generational Workforce

I know a 98 yr young retired US Federal judge who (...)

  karel sovak
Professor, United States

Leaders can Motivate Multiple Generations with Empowerment

I think the best indicator of a motivated employee (...)

  Rebecca Kibazo-Gasque
United States

Employee Motivation Across Age Groups

@Truong Thi Lan Anh: I agree with you that work li (...)

Management Consultant, France

How Employers Motivated Employees over the Years...

Since last industrial era in 1900, modern companie (...)

  Maia de Lourdes Larrea

Motivation is Different for Different Cultures

@Dr Hussein Laqwer: I also think that this theory (...)


It Doesn't Matter How Old People Are, they Want Only One Thing...

A promotion, better salary, a tap on the back, etc (...)

  Bert Walker

Dealing with Responsibility / Accountability When you Grow Older

@Gil Vondrasek: You wrote: "Does our birth date im (...)

  Vance E. Woods
Student (MBA), United States

Generational Motivation

@Samuel Luzobe: Generation motivation is definitel (...)

  Daniel Newton Obaka

Two Levels of Motivation: The Natural-Purpose and the Environment-Tainted Motivation

This generational analysis comes at a time when th (...)

  Alain Kriegel

What Motivates People over the Generations?

I agree that everyone is looking for a balance bet (...)

  Carlos Torres
Business Consultant

Work Motivations of Young and Mature People

Indeed, the different generations may have other p (...)

  Shafiul Azam
HR Consultant, Bangladesh

Employee Motivation also Varies According to Individual Personality

Indeed employee motivation varies from generation (...)

  Arif ur Rehman
Professor, Pakistan

Careful with Generalizations of Generational Imbalances in Working Mindsets

@Gil Vondrasek: Another movie that comes to my min (...)

  Dev Sen
Teacher, United Kingdom

Baton of Experience is Not Passed among Generations

@Carlos Torres: indeed the problem we face as more (...)

  raffaele campanella
Management Consultant, Italy

The Importance of the Boss

I have a very clear statement in my mind, after 35 (...)

  Dilip Khanal
CEO, Nepal

Common Motivation for 4 Generations

Appreciation, challenge and reward are common in a (...)

  Upadhyayula Narayana Das
HR Consultant, India

What Motivates Employees? Generational Determinant

Ascribing motivation as a function of generation m (...)

  Martin Noonan

Motivating Younger Employees to Find Greater Depth in Understanding

Motivation is like perception. "It's not mine, its (...)


Age / Generations Don't Matter Much

Personally I feel these simple categories are gene (...)


What Motivates Employees from Various Generations

Basic needs, such as security and recognition have (...)

  Dr Gary Jones
Business Consultant, Australia

Interesting Comments by All

All the comments are valid some coming from an aca (...)

Manager, South Africa

What Motivates Employees: Use what they Like Most

For the younger generation of employees the most i (...)

  hendrick Sauzande
Manager, Malawi

Motivation of Generations not Valid in Poor Countries

Motivation is not a direct function of generation, (...)

  Hemant Desai
Management Consultant, India

Motivation Based on Generations Alone is Suicidal

All theories give you a point of view which necess (...)

  de vries
Consultant, Netherlands

Attributes of Generations / Cohorts

Generation planning is important. Not only in mana (...)

  John limpus

What Motivates Employees from Various Genarations

What motivates employees is reward. This is not al (...)


Motivations of the Various Generations

According to Maslow, motivation need not depend on (...)

  Gafar Bamikole
Accountant, United Kingdom

Generational Traits in Employees’ Motivation

Compared to universal motivational theories, gener (...)

Student (Other), Ghana

What Motivate an Employee does not Depend on Generation

I think flexibility in job designs and reward syst (...)

  abraham garshong

Common Denominator to Motivate Employees from Various Generations?

@David Wilson: I am in line with your thinking. It (...)

Entrepreneur, United States

Various Generations Differences and Perspectives Worthy of Study

As the parent of a 21 year old, I have to admit I (...)

  hernando bernal
Professor, Colombia

Media Motivate the New Generation?

Motivation is more than perception, Alvin Toffler (...)

  Naomi Elisabeth

The World Changes and that Impacts the Motivation of Generations

Change can be associated with this topic. I mean, (...)

Start a new forum topic


More on Expectancy Theory:
Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Expectancy Theory? Become our SIG Leader

Expectancy Theory
Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2021 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 17-9-2021. All names ™ of their owners.