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Motivation by Generation: Millennials, Generation X, and Boomers Are Not As Different As You Think

Posted by Deb Muoio

Apr 29, 2015 5:27:00 PM

There’s a good chance that at some point, your company will have the advantage of employing a generational blendmotivation-list of Millennials, Generation X, and Boomers. Here’s why this is great:

  • You have the benefit of three different perspectives and a variety of skill sets.
  • You can use the Boomers of today to groom the professionals of tomorrow.
  • Your Boomer team can get an innovative boost while your Millennials and Generation X can gain valuable experience.

Here’s why this mix of generations poses a problem for a lot of employers, at least at first glance: The small matter of motivation. How do you motivate three different generations? Is waving a juicy bonus in front of them like a carrot on a stick enough? The good news is that according to data we collected from our Career Motivation Profile, Millennials, Generation X, and Boomers are very much motivated by the same things, with a few notable exceptions.

Generational Similarities

Millennials, Generation X, and Boomers share 8 of the top 10 motivators (the test assesses 23 different motivators in total):

Rank

Top 10 Motivators for Millennials

Top 10 Motivators for Gen Xers

Top 10 Motivators for Boomers

1

Achievement

Customer Orientation

Customer Orientation

2

Customer Orientation

Achievement

Learning

3

Fun and Enjoyment

Inspiration

Identity and Purpose

4

Inspiration

Identity and Purpose

Creativity

5

Identity and Purpose

Learning

Achievement

6

Learning

Creativity

Inspiration

7

Creativity

Fun and Enjoyment

Financial Reward

8

Structure and Order

Altruism

Stability

9

Power

Power

Fun and Enjoyment

10

Altruism

Stability

Altruism

 

Generational Differences

Millennials – Structure and Order

Despite the rampant (and false) belief that Millennials are self-absorbed, self-serving, and fickle, our research reveals a rather surprising statistic: This age group thrives on structure. They want their duties and roles made clear. They want to know exactly what is expected of them.

Millennials – Power

These are not opportunistic usurpers. Millennials may want to be promoted to a more prominent position at some point in their career but what they want right now is the privilege to be a part of company’s decisions. If they are going to stay in an organization in the long-term, they want to play a role in deciding where the company is headed.

motivation-by-generation

Gen X – Power

Much like Millennials, Generation X doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines. Given that they are the future leaders of the company, they want to have every opportunity to offer their input on a company’s vision and goals.

Gen X – Stability

Most Generation Xers are at a point in their life where they want to lay a solid groundwork for their future. This means that many are purchasing cars, homes, are getting married and raising a family. This makes job security a very attractive perk for this generation.

Boomers – Stability

With a family already established for younger Boomers and retirement on the horizon for older Boomers, job security is also important to this generation. Unless they are truly unhappy with their jobs, most people of this generation are unlikely to make sudden career changes and would prefer to stick with a company in the long-term.

Boomers – Financial Reward

Boomers understand the value of hard work. They have no problem taking on additional responsibilities and putting in a few extra hours, but they want to be financially compensated. With a family to take care of and a retirement future to plan, bringing more money in is important to Boomers.

Don’t miss part three of this blog series for practical tips on motivating employees of various generations.

 

If you’re interested in using CAMOP (Career Motivation Profile) or other tests for HR purposes, request a free trial for ARCH Profile here.

Want to learn more about using psychological tests for hiring, leadership development, career development or talent retention? Download our free eBook loaded with down-to-earth information about psychological testing for HR purposes.

Ready for a test drive of ARCH Profile, the delivery system for PsychTests’ assessments? All you need to do is ask!Request your free trial of ARCH Profile!

Topics: HR Tips, Leadership Development, Talent Retention, Employee Engagement, Mentoring, HR Trends, Retention, Employee Development, Motivation, Coaching, Millennials

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