February 12, 2013 | Comments | Tags: Don Harpe, Management, S&P Data
Creating a winning workforce is no longer about perpetuating an “old boys club” or a “family environment” but about embracing the generational divide. Traditional approaches to motivating employees have hit a snag; they don't seem to apply to the contemporary generation of employees, called Generation X and Generation Y (or Millenials).
Generation X – Born pre 1975 were referred to as “Latch Key” kids, home alone after school as both parents worked long hours and/or were raised by a single parent. This means they need the opportunity to make choices as they were often raised to fend for themselves. To motivate them may mean giving options for task selection, options for challenges, options for new processes, etc. They tend to prefer clear stated goals and when properly motivated will have a “work hard, play hard mentality”. They will have a stronger sense of work/life balance and “keeping up with the Jones’” is key motivator for this generation.
Generation Y- born post 1975 through 1990’s are often referred to as “Trophy” kids because in school and in play children, regardless of capabilities, were provided the opportunity to contribute and
perform. This is in contrast to the generation X and Baby boomers that only received credit for winning. They tend to perform well with structure and collaboration. They are not motivated by money but by recognition and will choose life over work given the choice. As a manager, reward them frequently with positive feedback and citations for successful accomplishments and milestones on the road to long-term achievements.
As a manager, you will have a combination of both generations and will need to devise a plan that motivates both. As always, it is our responsibility to manage all our employees fairly and equally while understanding each are individuals. The recognition program you operate will drive increased results from your Y generation while giving the X generation a chance to choose their course of action will have the same impact. There are hundreds of articles on the subject and I recommend reading many as the key variable between most organizations is the people and how we manage them.
I have only scratched the surface but to disregard the vast differences in the two generations is to limit the opportunity within your organization. At S&P, we have made it our goal to understand and
develop a culture that embraces these differences and in turn deliver a higher level of satisfaction to our employees and clients.