Gen Y Motivation Needs

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dsEngaging Gen X and Gen Y Employees
Three Significant Trends in Recognition

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Engaging Gen X and Gen Y Employees: Three Significant Trends in Recognition

The New Rules of Recognition: How To Engage Gen X and Gen Y
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Generations X and Y – the two youngest generations in the workforce – will constitute 57 percent of the workforce by 2011. As these generations become a workforce majority, the way they choose to work and be recognized will shift in significant ways. These generations have seen the median length of job tenure in the United States for all workers age 16 and older fall from 9.2 years in 1983 to 4.1 years in 2008 (the last complete year for which numbers are available). These employees don’t expect to spend their entire career with one company. As a result, the days are long gone when effective, meaningful employee recognition was all about giving a worker a reward for simply staying on the job. Total recognition is the name of the game today. But the rules of total recognition are rapidly changing as the landscape of the workforce and what we know about employees also change. The three most significant trends in recognition programs that create more meaningful employee engagement are: 1. Peer-to-Peer Recognition 2. Results-Based Recognition 3. Social Recognition Dr. Bob Nelson, an authority on employee recognition, points out that 89 percent of today’s employees report that recognition is very or extremely important to them. To attract and retain top talent, an organization needs to be exceptional at recognizing employees in ways they value. However, Nelson says that most recognition dollars

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Engaging Gen X and Gen Y Employees: Three Significant Trends in Recognition

are still spent on programs that reinforce presence over performance, such as years-of-service awards. 1 “It’s almost universally accepted now that any effective recognition program needs to be built upon a foundation of recognizing more events and results than simply staying on the job a fixed number of years,” says Razor Suleman, founder and CEO of Achievers, the leader in results-driven rewards and recognition solutions. “We are seeing this firsthand with our customers, who are top employers all over North America.” For organizations that want to attract, retain and encourage better performance from Gen X and Gen Y employees, it’s crucial to stay abreast of changes in the kinds of recognition that employees expect and that motivate them. Based on our real-world experience, this paper will explain how you can use recognition to engage and motivate these generations in your workforce.

Moving Forward: Three Trends Toward Engaging Gen X and Gen Y Employees In today’s work world, any recognition and rewards program that hopes to keep up with the changing demographics and expectations of the modern workforce must accept that recognition has a different meaning for Gen X and Gen Y employees. Gallup interviews with more than 1 million managers and employees showed that recognition matters for these younger generations – for achievements large and small, individual and team-based, personal and professional. Employees may be motivated by many different things, but they all strive for recognition and praise. And they need that positive feedback at least every seven days. 2 However, organizations that want to recognize their Gen X and Gen Y employees must remember that these employees want not only the recognition but also the ability to choose their reward.

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Nelson, Bob. “The Importance of Strategic Recognition.” Human Resource Executive Online. November 17, 2006. http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=8181009 Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter. 12: The Elements of Great Managing (Gallup Press, December 2006). http://gmj.gallup.com/content/28270/The-Fourth-Element-of-Great-Managing.aspx

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Engaging Gen X and Gen Y Employees: Three Significant Trends in...
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