Employee Recognition - It's Different for Every Generation
For recognition to be meaningful it must be personal. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the differences between the generations in today’s workforce. Pundits who classify these groups as the “Whiners,” the “Slackers” and the “Worst Generation” are missing the point - each generation is highly motivated, driven to build on the success of the last. The trick to understanding generational differences is to recognize that these groups use different yardsticks to measure success.
Of course each individual will follow generational patterns to a greater or lesser extent. But to make sure that your recognition and engagement efforts are on target it helps to understand a few key differences:Boomers
- (Ages 47 to 65) The demographic “pig in the python,” the Boomers continue to have a disproportionate effect on culture and the economy as they head toward their retirement years.Engagement Opportunity
- Boomers are success-driven. Recognize their individual accomplishments and help them see their progress, even slow progress, toward key goals.Gen X (ages 30 to 46)
- Here is the demographic “middle child,” standing in the shadow of the Boomers and nervous about getting passed over by the highly ambitious and confident Millennials nipping at their heels. Gen X grew up during cycles of “Boom” and “Bust” and they like to keep their options open.Engagement Opportunity
- Gen X tends to value breadth of experience over vertical control. Recognize them for their knowledge and their abilities and offer opportunities to develop new skills.Millenials
- (Ages up to 29) Ambitious, highly networked and team oriented, Gen Y wants to divide and conquer. This group grew up in the era of the collaborative classroom and the “flattened organization.” They expect greater access to information and key people in the organization.Engagement Opportunity
- Millenials want access and transparency. Recognize their contributions to the team and pair them up with mentors who can give them the feedback that they crave.
The right social recognition strategy will give you visibility and insight into the ways your team actually works and help you personalize your engagement policies by focusing on the strengths of individuals.