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Guide: Employee Rewards for a Multigenerational Workforce

Knowing how and when to value your employees yields the most engagement and satisfaction

Would you give a 21 year old the same gift as a 35 year old? How about a 45 year old? How about a 65 year old?


Probably not, and although there may be a couple things that all of these age groups would love, they typically have differing tastes, likes, priorities and interests.



While companies are aware that rewarding and recognizing their employees are crucial to engaging them, many do not realize that these rewards and recognition must match the person receiving it.


Today’s workforce is made up of employees from a variety of generations, all with different strengths, experiences and values. Matching rewards to these values can ensure that they are significant, motivational and achieve their intended purpose.


Here’s our guide to rewarding today’s multigenerational workforce:




This creative, innovative, tech savvy, group of multi-taskers have grown up with instant gratification as a way of life; including, finding information at the drop of a hat, or redefining long held traditions (black Friday vs cyber Monday anyone). This group believes that work should be somewhat of a second family and in an environment that is fun, engaging and sociable. Generation Y’s different approach to societal norms will affect the way they perceive rewards and recognition.


Perks, awards and incentives that fit into their values and goals will guarantee that these rewards hit their mark. To fulfill millennial values include perks such as:


• Casual dress
• Collaborative space
• Tuition reimbursement
• Flexibility of office hours and location (like a 2:00PM yoga class)
• Pet friendly offices
• Free alcohol (More companies are offering alcohol on premises to incentivize these workers)
• Mentoring
• Access to and integration of new technology
• Fun work place and environment
• Games 


Many of these perks can be executed with little or no money and have a huge impact on employee satisfaction, morale and productivity, while fulfilling the values of work-life balance.

Generation X

Generation X statistically holds the highest education levels across all age groups. This highly educated, active, and family oriented group have a work hard, play hard mentality and are socially conscious.


Perks that will most engage this group include:


Generation XGranting them freedom in the workplace by not micromanaging their projects
• Autonomy to pursue ‘passion projects’
• Opportunities to continue learning and gaining new skills and applying their advanced education
• Flexible work arrangements will be valued as many of them have both child care and elder care responsibilities
• On-site child care facilities
• Concierge services
• On-site wellness facilities
• Networking opportunities

Baby Boomers

The ‘Boomer’ generation is one of the first generational groups to be concerned about retirement with many working past the common retirement age. This group is also one of the fastest growing groups as far as internet and technology adoption, and is interested in healthcare and location more than Gen X or Gen Y. Also, Baby Boomers see their current jobs as a position they’re in for the long haul.

Baby Boomers will appreciate perks that align with these values including: 

baby boomers• Phased retirement programs
• Opportunities to learn and gain new skills especially in the technology sector
• Wellness programs
• Healthcare incentives and benefits
• Recognition of long tenure and loyalty to their organization
• Retirement contributions

Cross Generational Rewards

Multigenerational workforces can be rewarded with cross generational rewards. These are incentives which any of these groups will appreciate and will result in engagement. For companies with a mix of these generations (which is just about every company) here are some incentives for across the board recognition and rewarding: 

• Wellness programs
On the Spot recognition programs
• Community volunteer programs
• Financial planning services and education
Engaging cultures
• Tax preparation discounts
Non cash incentives
Peer-to-peer recognition
• Positive feedback and employee rewards
• Training 



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