🔴 A business consulting firm looks at what motivates multi-generational workers

🔴 Understanding generational differences can build a well-rounded team

🔴 Deal breakers are similar across all four generations in today's workforce


Understanding what motivates workers of different generations can help employers build stronger teams and help employees be happier.

The business consulting firm Robert Half released its new 2023 Examining the Multigenerational Workforce report, designed to explore what motivates workers of the four distinct generations that make up today’s workforce.

There were five key findings in this report, said Robert Half Regional Director Dora Onyschak.

First, it should be no surprise that money mattered to most workers. Competitive compensation had the biggest impact on job satisfaction and retention for three of the four working generations, except for Gen Z (those under 27 years old), for whom other factors ranked higher, Onyschak said. In addition, Gen X workers (ages 47 to 58) were most likely to feel underpaid.

A second key finding was that Gen Z wants the best of both worlds. Onyschak said one-third of Gen Z professionals prefer to choose when and where to work. At the same time, they crave more in-person interactions than employees of other generations.

“Six in ten of Gen Zers are concerned about missing out on opportunities and promotions if they’re only working remotely,” she added.

Millennials are most interested in remote work opportunities and least interested in returning to the office.

Third, artificial intelligence or AI is weighing on workers’ minds. Onyschak said 78% of Gen Z professionals are concerned about AI impacting their job versus 48% of millennials (ages 28 to 46), 40% of Gen Xers, and only 27% of baby boomers (ages 59 to 77).

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All workers across all generations would rather undergo training to reskill for a new role than have to pursue a different opportunity at a different company if their position was at risk, she said.

Fourth, contract work is attractive to younger professionals. Half of Gen Zers who are looking for a new job in 2023 are interested in full-time contract work.

Fifth, deal breakers are similar across all generations. All generations rank a lack of transparency, unclear or unreasonable job responsibilities, and poor communication with a hiring manager among the top reasons to withdraw from consideration for an open role, Onyschak explained.

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What can managers do to help support multigenerational teams?

First and foremost, give employees opportunities to collaborate on projects so they can gain new skills and build motivation, Onyschak said.

Learn how another generation reacts. How they learn from each other is critical, she added.

Develop training so that all employees can keep their skills current and prepare for new opportunities.

Provide mentorships with different generations involved so people early on in their careers can partner with older workers to increase the learning and sharing of information.

Flexible work was key in this survey. Allowing the opportunity to have a hybrid option, meaning some remote work and some purposeful in-office time is critical, Onyschak said.

“We have to teach our managers how to work with direct reports from multiple generations and practice inclusive hiring opportunities, and finally, make sure that you research and benchmark your salaries on a regular basis to ensure that you’re providing competitive pay which is the number one concern for almost every single generation,” Onyschak said.

Getting to know employees and what motivates them is critical to building and sustaining a successful business, she said. It’s not a one-size fits all mentality.

For more on this report, visit here.

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