3 Keys to Motivating Multi-Generational Teams in the Workplace

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Jul 24, 2015

Today’s managers’ face a unique challenge — motivating a multi-generational workforce.

For the first time in history, there are four generations making up our nation’s workforce. With Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennial (Generation Y) employees on the same team, a one-size-fits-all method to management and motivation simply isn’t effective.

To manage multiple generations successfully, you must first understand what each generation values. Consider the following tips for effectively motivating your multi-generational team:

1. The past shapes the present

Everyone is influenced by their past experiences. That’s especially true across the generations.

Traditionalists who grew up during the Great Depression view their jobs differently than Generation Y, who were practically born with an iPhone in hand. Understanding your employees’ history helps you to gain a better understanding of what drives them.

For example, a Traditionalist might be motivated by the promise of job security, while a Generation Y employee is more likely to feel motivated by the opportunity to work with the latest technology.

2. Similarities exist

While the differences between generations are well documented, it’s important to realize that your employees are probably more alike than they realize.

As a manager, you’ll want to emphasize those similarities to help boost employee morale and collaboration. Employees are more likely to be motivated when they feel like they’re part of a cohesive team.

3. Communication is key

Your multi-generational team won’t always work in perfect harmony, so when there’s conflict, it’s important to understand why. Is a particular generation’s voice being heard more than the others?

It’s essential for the management team to work together to create policies and procedures with the unique perspectives of each generation in mind. When employees feel like they have a voice in the workplace, motivation usually follows.

Motivating a generationally diverse team may be challenging, but building a strong cohesive unit will benefit both your employees and your business.

This was originally published on the Genesis HR Solutions blog.

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