Managing Across Generations: Motivating Gen Xers

Younger generations — the so-called Gen Xers and New Millennials — comprise half the U.S. work force. The other half consists of 45% Baby Boomers and 5% veterans, many of whom are charged with motivating newer employees.

But what happens when generations don’t share the same values and beliefs about workplace success?

Now, more than ever, American workers born after 1965 aren’t following in their elders’ footsteps. They have different workplace values and definitions of success.

Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, occupy most positions of power and responsibility on organizational charts. Most of today’s corporate management practices still reflect the systems and values of their predecessors, the veterans.

Gen Xers and Millennials therefore present unique challenges for Boomer managers. This group shuns past definitions of success: climbing the company ladder and earning the rewards that come with greater responsibility. The company ladder, in their view, is irrelevant.

Mature workers and Boomers in managerial and leadership positions struggle with these differing values and beliefs, wondering how to motivate their younger colleagues. If promotions, raises and bonuses fail to motivate, then what does the trick?

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There are two versions of this article: 2000 words and 1000 words (approximate word counts). The full article covers the following sub-topics:

Time
Technology
Loyalty
Individual Expression
Job Insecurity
Changed Management Practices
Vital Differences
Boomers Versus Gen Xers
Hours and Output
Questions to Ask Younger Generations
Bridging the Gap

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