A Look at How Engagement Differs Between Baby Boomers and Millennials
In many cases, cookie-cutter approaches fail when it comes to employee engagement. For example, what works for one employee could backfire when tried with someone else. This post takes a look at the three major ways that Baby Boomers and Millennials differ when it comes to engagement.
Baby Boomers, for the most part, show a commitment to loyalty as well as lots of patience. They believe in putting in hard work to get their dues, even if that means their work-life balance skews toward work. They’re fine with—and used to—slow, steady and sure career progression, getting a modest raise every year and a new job title every five years or so.
Millennials, on the other hand, crave progression—immediately. They’re used to instant communication, instant feedback and instant search results on Google. They need to see, hear and feel that they’re on a good track and making a difference. Two ways to address this are to create interim position titles for those in-between spaces and allowing Millennials to handle projects that help them learn new skills and develop in some way.
Baby Boomers are typically fine with getting feedback on an annual or semi-annual basis. This is not the case with Millennials, who want constant feedback on performance.
Mentors, opportunities for ongoing training and education, and cross-departmental training help keep work fresh, creative and engaging for Millennials. A mentor provides for consistent and specialized one-on-one feedback and attention, and training gives Millennials a tangible sense of progression. Just make sure the training truly benefits and helps them, and doesn’t amount to busywork and skills that don’t really serve them well.
Typically, Baby Boomers are fine with traditional “rewards” for performance, such as standard benefits, paid time off, and a holiday bonus. Millennials, on the other hand, often see these rewards as the bare minimum.
If you want to reward a high performing Millennial, then send him or her to speak at a conference or asking them to spearhead a company volunteer effort. Millennials have a tremendous internal drive, so think of rewards that encourage that.
As with any issue, there’s a lot more to this picture. To learn more about the importance of engaging Millennials, download our whitepaper on what motivates Millennials in the workplace.