Statistics show that for the first time in modern history, the workforce consists of five generations, including the Silent Generation (before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-2000), and Generation Z (2001-2020). While there are many advantages of having a multigenerational workforce, such as fostering innovation and mentorships, managing such a diverse group of employees also has its challenges.
These generations all have different skillsets and employment goals and finding a way to bridge the gap between them is not an easy task. One thing, however, that all generations have in common is the desire for recognition. No matter their age or what generation they were born into, your employees want recognition for their hard work and commitment to the company. According to a recent Achievers report, 82 percent of employees wish they received more recognition for their work and 60 percent want to be recognized more frequently than they are. Additionally, organizations that give frequent recognition are 41 percent more likely to see increased employee retention and 34 percent more likely to see increased employee engagement
The good news is that not only does employee recognition span generations, it also can help to promote employee engagement, which can boost performance (by 20 percent), increase sales (by 50 percent), improve retention (by 21 percent), and strengthen revenue growth (2.5x greater).
Are you ready to recognize your multigenerational workforce? Get started with our seven tips:
1. Global recognition kickoff
Whether you’re starting a new recognition program or revamping your current one, the best way to start is to organize a global recognition kickoff. Be sure to make it a company-wide program that involves workers from all levels within the workplace, including part-time, temporary, and remote workers.
With a new frequent and meaningful employee recognition strategy in the works, make sure to communicate the importance and benefits of recognition across your entire multigenerational workforce, especially the ones in management roles. Recognition from managers and leaders is extremely important given 40 percent of employees answered just "okay" and nearly one in five said "horrible" when asked how their company or manager is at recognizing them.
To help with your company's transition to a culture of recognition, it’s important to promote the new recognition program throughout the company in the weeks leading up to the kickoff. By building excitement, even before launching the employee recognition program, you can encourage employee participation from day one.
2. Simplified platform
It cannot be stressed enough that you need to make the recognition process as easy as possible. Not only are your workers busy, but your multigenerational workforce includes employees of all technological-skill levels. Keep this in mind when creating your recognition program.
You want to use an employee recognition platform that even non-tech-savvy employees can use. In addition, find a platform that allows employees to offer peer-to-peer or manager-to-employee recognition in just a matter of minutes. These tips will enable you to create a program that allows all generations to participate in giving and receiving recognition.
Pro tip: Get your hands on an employee recognition platform that gives your real-time data and insights. General Motors (GM) is able to measure their global recognition program's success. Within 30 days of launch, 87 percent of the entire global population was active in the platform, sending over 80,000 unique recognitions. Access the GM case study to learn more.
3. Make it personal
While employee recognition may span generations, it’s still important to respect your employees’ differences. One of the best ways to tailor your recognition program for your multigenerational workforce is to develop a points-based recognition system. Employees can then redeem their points for rewards that matter most to them.
This type of recognition program allows you to maintain consistency by offering the same points to all employees, while still offering a diverse selection of rewards for each generation. Using employee surveys can help you better determine what types of rewards are ideal for each generation. The important thing is that a points-based system can provide a more personalized, more meaningful, and more effective rewards experience.
4. On-the-go recognition
With over 80 percent of the population now owning a smartphone, mobile recognition is a must-have. A mobile platform gives your employees the power to send and receive recognition from anywhere. Your employees will be able to review recognition on-the-go, at home, or literally anywhere their phone is.
Employees will also be able to review their recognition activity at times that are most convenient for them. This is ideal for multigenerational workforces because it allows employees of all ages to use the program in a way that best meets their needs and fits their lifestyle.
5. Facebook, Snapchat, and more
According to recent research, 79 percent of the U.S. population uses some form of social media. Furthermore, studies show that 68 percent of Facebook and 63 percent of Snapchat users sign into the platform every day. Young adults are among the earliest social media adopters and continue to use these sites at high levels, while usage by older adults has increased in recent years. These facts make social media a great example of the type of user experience employees want.
When creating a recognition program for your multigenerational workforce, be sure to offer a fun user experience similar to social media platforms. Have a company-wide newsfeed that displays all recognitions in real-time and give employees the opportunity to like or comment on colleague's recognitions. Also, give employees the option to add fun photos or gifs to the recognitions they send.
Lastly, don't forget to encourage your employees to share their recognitions across their social media channels; this will help promote your company as a great place to work.
6. Incorporate company values
Employee recognition becomes most effective when companies make it an integral part of their company culture. The best way to create a culture of appreciation is to tie recognition into key company values. This step will not only help your workers identify company values, but it can actually help to modify key behaviors in the workforce. In fact, in a recent study, 88 percent of the employers surveyed believed that tying recognition to company values helped them change behaviors in the workplace.
One idea to make this happen is to use a recognition platform that prompts employees to select a specific company value when giving a recognition. Employees are able to see exactly how their behaviors (and their colleagues' behaviors) tie back to the company's values.
7. Celebrate special achievements
A great way to promote recognition across your multigenerational workforce is to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays, work anniversaries, and major milestones (i.e., hitting sales goals). One way to celebrate special achievements is to send digital celebration cards that team members can sign and customize. Establishing parameters for specific types of recognition will ensure everyone, of all generations, receives recognition.
The most important step is to have a system in place, such as prompts within your recognition platform, that ensures you don’t miss any birthdays or work anniversaries throughout the year. This mistake could have a negative effect instead of promoting engagement.
Recognize your multigenerational workforce
If you’re looking for a way to bridge the gap between your multigenerational workforce, a comprehensive employee recognition program may be the right solution for your company. The right program in place can help to unify your otherwise diverse workforce.
Learn more about how recognition can boost employee engagement across your entire organization by accessing Achievers’ webinar, "The Power of Recognition: Engaging the Multigenerational Workforce."
Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.