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How the Employee Thinks

Motivation to work – let’s face it, the baseline motivation is for financial benefit – money makes the world go round, but being motivated to work and just turning up are two different things.

We are now, for the first time in history, working with people from five different generations. This is an amazing time to have all these different types of knowledge and attitudes, but it can also present challenges to an organisation that is growing and maintaining staff.

Each generation brings individual style, attitudes, communication and values to the table, something for all leaders to think about.

The Generations

Silent (1929-1945) 
Respect authority and traditional ways of doing things. Hard working, loyal, emotionally mature, focused

Boomers (1946-1964) 
Tend to have regard and respect for authority and hierarchy. Work to live, knowledgeable, dedicated, conservative.

Gen X (1965-1980)
Work hard and get on with the job. Adaptable, collaborative, work/life balance and flexible time is important, willing to experiment – within established boundaries.

Gen Y (1981-1992)
Smart, predominantly challenging, risk takers, self entitled, individualistic and ambitious, “Is the company a good fit for me?“

Gen Z (1993-present)
Information processors, self-directed, creative, technically capable. Is the work meaningful? Can I make an impact quickly?


“Rachael” was referred to me recently. She had quit her job for a range of reasons and was stressed and worried about not having an income to support her two young children. Her role was busy, pressured and required long hours; she also had a long commute. She spent limited time with her children and was relying on family to help with school/daycare etc.

Her biggest motivator was financial stability, the next working closer to home in order to reduce travel time, and lastly at the age of 24 years (Gen Z) she still wanted a career and challenges.

Two days later she rang in a dilemma, two jobs were on the table and she couldn’t decide.

Job 1 Her “dream job” – Challenging, 10k more in salary but travelling from one side of town to the other adding another 1.5 hours per day onto her travel time.

Job 2 A “good job” – 15 mins drive from home, a drop in salary of $150 per week (with a review in 3 months), 8.30 to 5.00.

Which one does she take? We bounced ideas and in the end she saw that whilst she might lose some income with the close to home role, she gained so much more from a family perspective. Having this time with her young children was important, the role was solid and in 3 years time when her children were at school she could focus on boosting her career gain. Neither of the employers knew about this dilemma, she did not bring it up in interview and neither one sought to gain an understanding from her.

What are the motivators for your team?
Perhaps a few tweaks could improve productivity, loyalty and happiness.

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