Tailoring employee rewards to generational differences

March 20, 2012
Tailoring employee rewards to generational differences

As a manager, you may be finding that you’re not connecting with all the members of your team. Jack, who is approaching retirement age, is going through the motions to get his bi-weekly pay cheque, while Karen, who is hitting her stride after joining the company two years ago, is consistently achieving results. How do you get your generationally diverse team energized and maximizing their performance?

It’s about engineering a work environment where everyone feels sustained and enriched through their work. In today’s workforce, there are seniors (born before 1945), baby boomers (1945 to 1965), Generation X (1964-1980) and Generation Y, also known as ‘Millenials’ (born after 1981).

Most organizations don’t think that employees of different age groups should be rewarded uniquely. But doesn’t each generation place different emphasis on different values? For example, while compensation is important across the board, how much it matters varies. According to a paper from Farleigh Dickenson University (FDU), work is an obligation to seniors, an exciting adventure for baby boomers, a difficult challenge for Generation X, and a means to an end (fulfillment) for Generation Y.

The oldest workers take satisfaction in a job well done, while Generation X sees “freedom as the best reward.”

Consider the way each of your employees like to be led, talked to and rewarded. “Gen X wants instant gratification, whereas a person in the Veterans generation is happy to get money anytime. “The solution here may be for the company to explore reward plans geared to the different generations, or things like monetary rewards and recognition given at the time when it is earned,” says Greg Hammill from FDU’s College of Business.

A program tailored specifically to your organization’s demographics can be achieved with the expert consultants at William’s Recognition. With over a century of experience, we’ve seen rewards programs evolve. From launch to training to execution, we are a true full service Recognition Provider. 

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