Generations’ Work Rewards

In a LinkedIn discussion, a question was posed, “What rewards drive each generation, and are they different?”

In my workplace, I try to match intrinsic and extrinsic rewards based on the person, which generally coincides with their generational characteristics and preferences. For instance, an older volunteer (Traditionalist) might be rewarded with a simple “Atta-boy” for a particular task or project well-done or an acknowledgement that their work means something and can be related back to the appreciation of some historical aspect of their organization. Similarly, a Boomer might be satisfied with public recognition of a task or mastering something technological, even if it is learning something new from a Millennial!

My Gen-X staff always appreciate it when I encourage them to work off-site or at home on a project. Recognizing their independence to get their jobs done is very rewarding to them. My Millennials want recognition for hard work as well, BUT put them in charge of a small project to give them confidence, leadership experience, and an opportunity to be evaluated by their superior(s).

Tailoring the rewards to the different age group is a good strategy and knowing each of the generations’ preferences is helpful to all members of the organization.