One of the hardest things about managing a team is understanding the correct approaches to take to motivate employees. For some individuals, it is simply financial incentives which motivate them not only to work hard but to push themselves and take their careers to the next level, whilst for others, money isn’t everything and the likes of flexible working, the opportunity to work from home from time to time or corporate days out are far more suited.

These different motivators, in most instances, are clearly split by generation and, once you start to dig deep into what each responds best to, it becomes a little easier to roll out into almost any business.

The first step to the successful motivation of a team is to understand and accept that employees of different generations are motivated by different things. By adopting only one approach to motivation is a dangerous game to play and one which will likely result in the exact opposite of that which is desired, a motivated workforce, across some team members.

What, though, motivates different generations employees?

Understanding The Different Generations

First things first, it’s important to understand who the different generations of employee are before being able to understand what motivates each:

  • Baby Boomers
    Born: 1946 – 1964
  • Generation X
    Born: 1965 – 1980
  • Generation Y (Millennials)
    Born: 1980 – 1995
  • Generation Z
    Born: 1996 Onwards

By being able to identify employees into four key groups, motivation becomes far easier!

But…just what exactly motivates each of these four generations?

What Motivates Baby Boomers?

Baby Boomers are most commonly motivated by things other than just financial incentives, with popular motivators being:

  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Positions of authority
  • Recognition for achievements
  • Workplace benefits

What Motivates Generation X?

Generation X employees are most commonly motivated by things which offer them a good home / work life balance including:

  • Family-based benefits
  • Lifestyle benefits
  • Corporate wellbeing
  • Recognition of achievement
  • Professional development opportunities

What Motivates Generation Y?

Generation Y employees are most commonly motivated by things which are a little more on the creative and technological side than other generations including:

  • Money
  • Opportunities to learn new technologies
  • An enjoyable workplace environment
  • Short, changeable and fast tasks
  • Opportunities to express creativity and opinions

What Motivates Generation Z?

Generation Z employees are most commonly motivated by having their voice heard, equality and other motivators including:

  • Respect
  • Out of work socialisation
  • Money saving schemes
  • Experience days
  • Mentoring platforms

It’s important to realise that, for most, there is far more to motivating employees than simply offering financial incentives! By understanding this and rolling out different forms of motivators to different generations, you’ll find it far easier to motivate and ensure that the team as a whole are productive, happy and all working towards the same goals!