The Keys to Employee Engagement for Different Generations

by Dora Wang on Mar 13, 2015 2:00:00 PM

The Keys to Employee Engagement for Different GenerationsLet’s say one of your twenty-something staffers walks into the office followed by one of the fifty-somethings. And let’s say they both have the same job title. In your mind, they’re wildly different people despite their common roles. And in many ways, you’re right. One of them seems to thrive on smartphones and variety, the other on phone calls and wisdom. But though they dress and act and work differently, it turns out they do have a few things in common.

For starters, as Gallup found, they all want opportunities to do what they do best, and they all want to feel like their work is somehow directly connected to the company’s mission. And they all benefit from a few key aspects of employee engagement.

Want a solid baseline approach to employee engagement? Here’s a quick breakdown of some things to focus on.

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Millennials

  • Frequent feedback: Success begets success. Whether it’s through employee evaluations, peer review, or one-on-ones, feedback should come frequently and clearly, especially when it’s good.

  • Mentorship: Setting up a younger staffer with veteran is a great way for the former to gain wisdom and insight. And studies show that millennials actually want this.

  • Technology: Millennials thrive on technology, and quite a lot of them think their workplaces are underusing or misusing it. They also think their workplaces could learn from their understanding of it.

  • Flexible hours: With the always-on, always-connected state of things, it makes perfect sense that millennials would expect flexible hours, as PGi found. (Supporting it could even resolve some of those rush hour traffic issues you’ve been complaining about.)

  • Doing well by doing good: Millennials are out to save the world just like you were when you started out. Letting them know how your company does that will help keep them interested.

Gen X

  • New challenges: Once they’re comfortable, they want the chance to move around and try new things.

  • Independence: These guys are all grown up and able to self-start, so they’re after chances to do just that.

  • Individuality: Pairing these guys up with someone who can get to know their individual needs and wants can help keep them engaged for the long haul.

Baby Boomers

  • Promote the wins: Don’t wait until something goes wrong to tell them about it. Point out the successes, and do it often.

  • Mentorship: No matter how young or old, people want to learn new things and feel like they’re heading toward something. A good mentorship program can be the ideal way to do that.

  • Opportunity: The boomers are like everyone else — they want chances to develop their skills.

Respect their differences. Just don’t lose sight of what’s true for all of them in the process.

 

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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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