While running with a friend last night we got to talking about employee engagement. She works as a talent specialist in Human Resources for a large international company- so this isn’t an unusual topic of conversation for us. But, this time we hit on a topic that is becoming a fast changing dynamic in today’s workforce. Generations. My friend said to me that there is a noticeable difference in engagement from generation to generation. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but more so what is important to each generation.
According to the 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report, my friend is not just imagining this phenomenon. The fact is generations view work quite differently. Attitudes, behaviors, and expectations are transforming. Our oldest generation, the baby boomers, are our most engaged employees while our older millennials (ages 26-35) are the least engaged. Interestingly, our young millennials (ages 25 and younger) are the second most engaged following our baby boomers. They are likely eager new professionals just happy to have landed a job.
The millennial generation finds professional development to be a top driver for engagement. They are hyper-focused on work that embodies their interests and is impactful on a larger scale. Millennials are compensation minded and seek out career opportunities. If they don’t feel there is professional development within their organization, they are likely to move on.
Baby boomers, on the other hand, are more content in their career and have a generational reputation of having a hard-charging work ethic. The driving factor for engagement in baby boomers is leadership integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness. They are more likely to stay with their current company and are even pushing the average retirement age.
Knowing and understanding the generations you have working for you is the first step to engaging them. There isn’t one solution that fits all. Also, know that these are overall average statistics and your workplace may not be average. So, how do we manage the engagement of such a diverse workforce? Stay tuned for next week’s blog when I interview an expert in the field.