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What Motivates Each Generation at Work?

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Summary: Learn what motivates each generation so that you know how to effectively reach your employees.

Each generation is motivated by different factors depending on the cultural influences of their time. In order to effectively help your employees find the motivation they need to stay satisfied and committed to their job, employers need to know what each generation of their employees are motivated by. Learn what those motivators are, broken down by each working generation.

Baby Boomers

This generation was born between 1946 and 1964. They are generally regarded as optimistic but they focus on individual success. The generation was influenced by Elvis, The Beatles, Woodstock, The Cold War and the Man On The Moon. Baby Boomers are motivated by positions of authority, recognition for achievements, opportunities for professional development, and workplace benefits. These benefits include traditional ones like pensions, health benefits, and paid time off.

Generation X

This generation was born between 1965 and 1980. They are generally characterized as independent and regarded as highly educated. They were influenced by Nirvana, Madonna, Watergate, and a Thatcher-era government. Generation X employees are motivated by a balance between work and life, corporate wellbeing, recognition of their achievements, opportunities to develop professionally, family-based benefits like childcare vouchers, and lifestyle benefits. The type of benefits they are looking for include discounts on luxury goods, time off, pensions.

Generation Y or Millennials

This generation was born between 1980 and 1995. They are usually tech-savvy, image-conscious, environmentally conscious, and socially conscious. Their cultural influences include the Spice Girls, Britpop, Facebook, Harry Potter, and Apple. Their motivations start to change from the previous generations. They want to see money, a more enjoyable environment, flexible hours, opportunities to learn new skills, short and changing tasks, and opportunities to express creativity and opinion.

Generation Z

This generation was born anytime between 1996 and now. They are young adults and teenagers so they make up a small percentage of the workforce, but they are growing in numbers so it is important to take note of them. This generation is finishing school and just starting to enter the workforce. They have been surrounded by technology their entire lives. They have been influenced by YouTube, One Direction, Blogging, Snapchat, and financial instability. Their motivations are simple compared to older generations. They want respect, experience, mentoring platforms, money-saving tips, and opportunities to socialize with colleagues outside of work. Their motivations are likely to change as more enter the workforce and they work their way up in the company.

What motivates you to keep working? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about what motivates your workforce, read these articles:

What Motivates Each Generation at Work? by
Authored by: Amanda Griffin