One of the complexities of culture management is knowing what motivates your team. But with four active generational segments in today’s workforce, how can you as a manager or HR leader make employees happy when each person is so different? We took a look at the variety of wins and losses people typically experience in each decade of their careers—as well as their personal lives. The most attractive companies, like Google, offer benefits or employee rewards that cater to all of these motivational factors, ensuring that management is adequately meeting all of their employee’s diverse needs. Which is important, because happy workers equals higher profits.
Fresh out of college, employees in their twenties are loving their independence and are hungry for success. But for many, the 9-5 confines of becoming a citizen of adulthood leads to disillusionment.
What equals Success: Getting their “yellow belt.” Employees in their twenties move farther away from entry-level positions and start seeing their hard work rewarded with their first promotions.
What can be a Challenge: Ch-ch-changes. A recent study confirmed that 80% of employees in their twenties change career paths. Often, a job or an industry isn’t what fresh grads thought it would be.
How to Motivate: Employees in their twenties want to feel like their work is contributing to something important, so be sure to make your company’s mission clear and meaningful. Take time to show them the results of their efforts—and don’t forget to recognize good work.
Employees in their thirties are starting to settle into a long-term career path and will have accrued enough experience to be choosy about the type of companies they apply to.
Success: Leadership roles. With a decade of accomplishments, thirty-to forty-year-olds are getting to call some of the shots (and making better money).
Challenge: Work-life Balance. Thirty-somethings with children will find themselves negotiating time between home and work—like having to stay at home with a sick child on a day packed with conference calls.
Motivation: Offer employees flexible schedules that give them to freedom to manage their work and personal lives. Consider implementing a gracious family or medical leave policy, or offer flexible work time and enhanced technology to support remote communication like the folks over at Gap Inc.
Success: Employees in this decade of life can claim a specialty, have built a strong professional network, and revel in the fact that they always “know someone they can connect you with.”
Challenge: The elusive mid-life crisis. Employees are taking a step back and assessing their career choices and their general path in life and begin to accept that certain opportunities have passed them by for good (we can’t be presidents and astronauts).
Motivation: One of the reminders that the forties has arrived is a lower metabolism and the onset of certain aging issues. Make it easy for employees in their forties to meet their health needs – consider offering sensible snack and lunch options, as well as a gym membership subsidy, to help them boost energy both inside and outside of the office.
Success: Employees in their fifties and up secure real seniority and enjoy their top management positions—with retirement in site.
Challenge: When searching for a job, fifty-somethings fear age discrimination, or being replaced by a younger, zippier employee (who will work for less).
Motivation: Offer professional development resources that help these employees learn new skills, which will inject something new into the routine, and boost confidence when competing with a younger hiring pool. And take advantage of all of their acquired skills by putting into place a mentor/mentee program, signing up senior executives with millennial ICs to help develop our next round of leaders.
Looking for rewards and recognition that span all life stages? Check out our variety of experiential rewards offerings at Blueboard.com.