Generational differences and engaging your workforce

Being an employer in this day and age can be a challenge. Any given organisation can employ people from as many as four different generations. The challenges involved in engaging and motivating a group of people suddenly seems to be multiplied by four. In this post, we will look at some of the strategies you can employ to engage with your workforce, whichever generation they come from.

What are the generations?

It’s very important to understand that the commonly agreed upon generations are just general terms and the characteristics usually attributed to the different members are by no means scientific. With that said, the four commonly agreed upon generations are:

The Silent Generation – born between 1925 & 1945

The Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964

Generation X – born between 1965 and 1981

Millennials – born between 1982 and 2000

How are the generations different?

The big differences that define these generations typically revolve around the ways they perceive work, the motivation they seek and the communication styles that resonate with them.

This does not mean that one generation is ‘better’ than another, the generations have their key strengths and weaknesses. Rather, these differences should just be thought of as tools in your leadership toolbox to get the best results.

Perception of work

Silent Generation – Work is a duty – respect it and adhere to the rules

Baby Boomers – Work efficiently – work for personal fulfilment

Generation X – Work must be conquered – focus on task elimination

Millennials – Work is multitasking – goal oriented


Silent Generation – The satisfaction is in a job well done

Baby Boomers – Money or ‘better’ titles

Generation X – More freedom at work

Millennials – Fast/immediate positive feedback after a job well done

Communication styles

Silent Generation – Formal/written memos

Baby Boomers – Face to face

Generation X – Straightforward and direct

Millennials – E-mail or text message

How can I use this information?

The first step is recognising that, while an employee may fall into one of the generational categories, it does not define them. Instead, treat this information as a good starting point when it comes to engaging and motivating that employee.

This information is particularly useful to social clubs as they are often expected to cater the social programming to the incredibly varied tastes of the workforce. This can lead to a decline in membership, as the committee may not always be able to arrange events that will interest the different generations.

Neat Ideas helps by offering a diverse range of products and experiences that appeal to every generation. Many social clubs have taken this up and now offer the Neat Ideas platform as a benefit of membership. This kind of adaptability is a great example of engaging with the different generations in the workforce.

When you need help engaging, motivating and rewarding your workforce, talk to the rewards experts at Neat Ideas. Contact us today on 08 6389 0055 and get started.