There are so many areas in the workplace where individuals from different generations just plain have different views and expectations. Two that don’t get talked about a lot are rewards and career goals.
First, what is a reward? Most people like to have some type of recognition for a job well done. But depending on the person’s age, what is meaningful could look quite different. For a Traditionalist, rewards are usually thought of as job security, recognition, or retirement benefits. For a Baby Boomer, money, trophies, or acknowledgement of earned respect are good rewards. Generation X is likely to want a reward they can put into use to improve their work environment such as work from home privileges or more job flexibility. Millennials see opportunities to learn and grow as rewards, so they are likely to look for training classes, mentoring, or more individualized attention as rewards. Workers in Generation Z are loyal and will work hard when they are rewarded in a way that caters toward a balanced lifestyle, including enhanced healthcare benefits or additional holidays.
Our ways of defining career goals have changed over the years. A Traditionalist considered career goals to be advancement with one company for their entire work life, getting the gold watch for years worked, and having a great retirement plan. For a Baby Boomer, the goal was a challenging career path which may have initially been with one company but later could involve multiple companies, and having accomplishments recognized such as their name on the plaque in the cafeteria. Generation X have an expectation of multiple employers as they attempt to climb the lattice rather than the corporate ladder looking for experience and building a portable career. Millennials want varied, multi-faceted careers as they are learning and moving about, searching for steady, yet fast, progression. Generation Z career expectations are to have positions where they have an opportunity to learn multiple skills and aspects of other jobs in addition to their own. They are looking for customized careers.
These differences make it challenging for organizations to build reward systems and career paths for all generations but that’s exactly what has to be done to satisfy our generationally diverse workforce.
Read more in Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace https://www.amazon.com/dp/1631831526