Many enterprises now invest their time and resources on the younger generation who have more potential to cultivate, more space to develop, and more exposure to the latest technologies. They react quickly to market trends and use innovations to grow business. However, how should enterprises manage and motivate Generation X employees?
What is Generation X?
Generation X (or Gen X), born in the mid-1960s and the early-1980s, are mostly senior members in enterprises with a high sense of loyalty and belonging to the enterprise. More importantly, they are qualified to work in management in their organization because of their rich professional skills and management experience. Although some of them are just staffs, they are very familiar with the company’s structure and operation process that can inform new hires about the company’s principles and help them feel welcome in a new workplace.
What is Generation Y?
Generation Y(or Gen Y), also known as the Millennium Generation, would be the main labor force in Hong Kong. At present, Gen Yers accounts for about 40% of the total workers. As Gen Yers gradually start to work, employers hold different opinions about them. Many employers see them as energetic and innovative, but it is also considered impulsive and self-centered. Compared with Gen X, Gen Y is born in a better living environment with everyone’s love as a single child in the family, lacking independence and self-care ability. Children can do whatever they want and choose their favorite job. Resignation and job switching are also very common because they do not want to do the same works for a long time only for a stable income.
But the advantages of Gen Yers are that they are well educated, innovated, and are more receptive to new things and challenges. Compared with the external incentives such as salary and bonus, they emphasize more on self-promotion, sense of achievement and future development planning. They are also more willing to help others to achieve self-actualization in their works, which is of help for business development. Surveys show that nearly 60% of the respondents of Gen Y need support from their supervisors to boost their motivation, and hope to adapt to the new place faster.
Does Financial Incentive Work for Gen X?
Gen X has been in a mature and stable stage in the workplace. Most of them have been in the company for many years. Although Gen X talents have high loyalty to the company, we cannot ignore to retain and motivate them. Here are five points that might be the main reasons to influence their enthusiasm and morale.
- Lack of clear career planning
- Boredom comes down to lack of challenge
- Lack of concentration on work because of family, children, etc.
- Lack of fast-learning ability to keep up with the changing market
- Unfair treatment
Don’t Gen X employees care about wages? In fact, wages are still one of the necessary ways to retain employees, but not for older Gen Xers because the salary cannot fulfill their satisfaction at work. Employers can give them an amount of raise within a reasonable range based on their performance, or establish a transparent merit raise system to avoid making employees feel the unfair treatment.
Unlike financial incentives, Gen Xers pursue more intrinsic incentives, which are the higher-level needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, such as social needs or esteem and self-actualization. As employers and HRs, they can provide different support and incentive plans according to employees’ various needs to cultivate their passion at work.
The Effect of Workplace Environment on Employees’ Job Performance
A clear career plan and promotion process is a driving force for every employee, which is very important for employees’ development, especially for Gen Y employees. For Gen X employees, promotion is more stimulated than a raise. They pursue self-achievement and self-actualization and are eager to gain recognition and respect from others. For some SMEs, it is hard to move up the promotion ladder. Therefore, the company can reward or praise the senior employees, emphasize the difficulty and complexity of their tasks, or award certificates and other ways to make employees feel proud.
Employees can realize their self-esteem through challenges. The company should recognize Gen X employees’ value of and develop their skills through the one-to-one learning program. For example, senior employees could be the trainers to guide new employees, imparting job-related knowledge and skills, and as trainers, they could receive awards or bonuses as incentives.
Training Programs Help Employees Perform Their Job Duties Better
Many companies have adopted automation in the workplace called Gen X employees to keep pace with the latest changes in the industry. Enterprises should integrate time and resources to provide training programs to let them know how to technically do their jobs better. Skill Development Programs help improve every employee’s performance in the information age.
According to a business research report jointly released by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific Division, nearly 79% of Hong Kong’s jobs will be transformed in the next three years. The study also points out that future employees need to master skills, for example, creativity and the ability to solve complex problems, while companies strive to attract and retain the digital talents in three key areas: artificial intelligence (AI), big data and cloud computing.
Employee Benefits Help Increase Productivity
Many Gen Xers have a distraction from work as they have been the role of husband, wife, parents to take care of their family while Gen Yers have less concern about it. Therefore, if employers can help employees with trivia matters outside of work, employees might have sense of belongings in the company.
Google is well-known for offering perks at employees, providing opportunities for career growth and services for personal trivia. If Google employees stay late, they can get free healthy and varied breakfast and lunch. Even if they want to give flowers or gifts to girls, Google can help as well. Employee insurance, such as medical insurance, retirement insurance, etc. are basic guarantees for each employee. If a Google employee passes away during his or her work, Google will pay 50% of the employee’s salary to his or her family every year for 10 years in addition to the insurance premium. Moreover, Google will provide an additional $1,000 per month benefit for children of a deceased employee until a certain age.
In 2018, Starbucks also launched new caregiver benefits for all of its 180,000 employees, providing employee benefits for their families, including backup child care, backup care for adults, senior care advisor for guidance, and a premium membership to Care.com that make it’s employees’ lives easier and enables employees to focus on their work to improve productivity.
Related article: 《Starbucks’ New Benefits Help Parents and Caregivers》
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