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In today’s workforce, there are four generations of employees working side by side. These are the Baby Boomers (1946-64), Generation X (1965-80), Millennials (1981-97), and Gen Z’ers (1997 – present). As of 2017, the Baby Boomers made up 25% of the total US workforce, Gen X 33%, Millennials 35%, and Gen Z just over 5%. As expected, trying to incentivize engagement and performance within such a diverse labour pool is easier said than done.

Leaders that have to manage this high degree of employee diversity within their companies face a set of unique challenges. These, in turn, require a series of creative solutions that should generate a wide-ranging appeal. There is a lot of value to be had from such a diverse workforce if only leaders knew how to incentivize engagement and performance within all of them.

Include creativity and innovation into the mix, and managers have to listen to and include everyone. Even though it can be a challenge, such a diversified team does match the customer base a lot better. Corporate cultures need to prioritize this diversity and inclusion. Managers, on the other hand, shouldn’t only hire people that resemble them. Leaders need to encourage openness, risk-taking, idea-sharing and restrain themselves from punishing honest mistakes.

By recognizing and adopting staff members’ good ideas, businesses will incentivize engagement. They will also benefit from more innovation, better customer relations, higher-quality decision making, and better retention rates.

Recommended: How to Encourage Employees to Be More Engaged

How to Incentivize Engagement and Performance From Within?

From a leader’s perspective, it all starts with self-awareness and personal development. Mentoring others as well as finding a mentor of your own, are both great ways of achieving this. Analyze yourself to see whether you tend to judge people at first glance. If so, learn to produce an open mind and avoid stereotypes. Thinking that older people can’t be innovative or can’t learn new skills is an example of this.

From a leader’s perspective, it all starts with self-awareness and personal development.

Emphasize their similarities rather than their differences. It’s important to remember that the people in your workforce have more in common than previously anticipated, regardless of their age difference. Make a habit of reminding them of that.

What Each Generation Needs

Regardless of the generation, every employee needs three things from their leaders:

  • A clear and complete knowledge of the goals and what it means to perform.
  • Regular feedback on their progress and coaching to improve.
  • Appreciation whenever they are successful in achieving their objectives.

These three elements presented here can and will bridge the gap between all four generations and will incentivize engagement between them. That said, here is how you should approach each generation.

Baby Boomers – Boomers with tenure, should be given greater discretion in the way they need to achieve their goals. Regarding feedback and boomers, avoid the appearance of micromanagement.

Generation X – Gen Xers are defined by their independence. To that end, they should be given similar leeway as boomers when talking about achieving their goals. Likewise, they generally like to work alone wherever possible. Mix their autonomy with frequent coaching for better results.

Millennials – This generation thrives when working in teams. Frequent feedback, guidance, and encouragement will work wonders with this generation. Avoid a hands-off managerial approach whenever possible.

Generation Z – As a general rule of thumb, the younger the employee, the less likely it is for them to stick with the organization, long term. This generation makes a small part of the current workforce of having distinctive and observable traits. Nevertheless, early indicators point to a similarity to millennials.

Each employee is unique and valuable

Despite these generalizations based on generations, each employee is unique. To maximize your results, ask each of them the level of feedback they desire and cater to the individual rather than the generation as a whole. For more information on understanding and managing different working generations, let’s connect on or

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734

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