Every organization implements four basic management functions: planning, organization, leadership, and control. In doing so, each organization chooses a different approach based on its specifics, values, and goals. We develop and implement specific programs and policies to attract the employees we want, retain, and keep them satisfied. However, in every part of the world, the turnover rate is increasing day by day. According to the 2019 Workforce Turnover Around the World Report, which covers the America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the turnover rate was 18.3%. Of these, 12.9% voluntarily left the job (Marsh&McLennan, 2019). This, of course, is directly related to the level of job satisfaction. So how can we increase employees’ job satisfaction?
Each organization offers career development plans, competitive salaries, bonuses, and benefits to the employees based on their available resources, to increase job satisfaction. But what if the companies are not offering what employee wants? We know that everyone has their unique characteristics, views, and values. What works for me doesn’t work for you. Then, if we implement policies and programs that suit each individual, we will be able to attract the employees’ that company wants, retain and keep them productive. This is possible if the organization has only 10 members. However, organizations with hundreds of employees have limited opportunities to implement this principle. Therefore, this can be addressed by dividing employees into specific groups based on their values, interests, and needs, and by implementing a program tailored to that group. The simplest and most practical way to set this group is to divide by “generations”.
- “Baby Boomers”: people born in 1945-1964
- X generation: people born in 1965-1980
- Y/Millennial generation: people born in 1981-1996
- Z generation: People born between 1997 and 2012
In recent years, news and articles on the “x, y, z” generation have spread rapidly. It is a term that brings together groups of people who are similar in terms of biological age, born in the same environment and the same society. This generation is divided based on major changes and events in the country. For example, revolution, war, social transition, and so on. This division is due to the fact that the groups of people belonging to the same “generation” have similarities and common characteristics.
Therefore, it is possible to determine the work expectations and values of the people in the group. Based on these results, the organization will be able to develop approaches that are tailored to the specifics of employees by implementing a more flexible management program for each “generation”.
Many researchers suggest that the Baby boomers generation is good at focusing on what they want to achieve. They define themselves by their success at work (Jiří, 2016). Generation X, on the other hand, is more resilient, with 67% agree that success is the result of hard work.
Generation X has a realistic view of the challenges of modern world, with the most important issue in the workplace being “personal safety” and wanting to keep the workplace diverse (Greenberg).
Researchers point out that the Y generation grew up under the influence of global technological advances and they have acquired the ability to quickly access information with the help of technology and perform many tasks simultaneously (Dogan Gursoy, 2008). Therefore, some researchers believe that this generation will be loyal to the organizations that invest in technology and new way of doing things (Tan Shen Kian, 2012).
Z generation is very concerned about the environment and is responsible for the proper use of natural resources (A.P. Singh, 2016). They like to be accepted quickly, and to have independence and personal space (Mihelich, 2013).
There is a study conducted in Mongolia to find out differences and similarities between generations. There were about 400 employees aged from 18 to 75 who participated. As per the study result, the younger the employees get, factors such as workload and salary become less important, and the lack of sense of identity is an important factor in the workplace. For older generations, workload and income factors become more and more important. Therefore, when applying management approaches it is important to consider these factors.
When it comes to job satisfaction, the most important thing for the Baby boomers generation is whether they like what they do or not and then the work environment/good relationship with coworkers, the need for respect for others is not so important for them, and the management approach is not an important factor for job satisfaction.
For Generation X, similar factors to BB in terms of sequence and importance level affect satisfaction, but the Management Approach appears to have an important role for them, also 3% of X generations answered that respect from others important for them.
A common feature between generations is that the sequence of factors that are important to satisfaction is the same. What sets Generations Y and X apart from other generations is that they have a greater need for respect. Z generation appears to be more unique, salary and if they like the job or not are important factors for them.
Considering whether the commonly used forms of incentives have distinctive and common characteristics from a “generations” perspective, it has been observed that industry and government awards and credentials are not so important for all “generations”.
Generations X and Y are less interested in this type of incentive. Paid leave is not important for the BB generation, but about 25% of other “generations” consider it a good bonus. Publicly announce success is more important for Generation BB, with 22% of Generations X and Y responding positively to this type of incentive.
For all generations, cash rewards are the best form of rewards, with an average of 45% considering it to be the best form of rewards.
The results of the above studies alone show that we can better address the traditional problems faced by organizations if we can develop incentives tailored to the specifics of the “generations” and focus on the factors that are important to the “generations” to improve employee satisfaction. There is an opportunity to solve it innovatively.
In the future, we believe that using this model by conducting this type of research with more people, introducing it to organizations, and experimenting with it will be a solution to modernize traditional management methods and meet the needs of today’s rapidly changing society and employees.
If the common forms and relationships of incentives are offered to all employees, in the same way, management will be less able to reduce the number of employees who come and go and increase employee satisfaction and productivity. This is because the results of the above research and previous international studies show that the values of employees differ from one generation to another generation. There is no one-size-fits-all management approach.
A.P. Singh, J. D. (2016). UNDERSTANDING THE GENERATION Z: THE FUTURE WORKFORCE. South -Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies , 1-5.
Dogan Gursoy, T. A. (2008). Generational differences: An examination of work values and generational gaps in the hospitality workforce. International Journal of Hospitality Management , 448-458.
Greenberg, E. H. (n.d.). FDU Magazine. Retrieved from https://portal.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm
Jiří, B. ( 2016). The Employees of Baby Boomers Generation, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z . Journal of Competitiveness , 105-123.
Marsh&McLennan. (2019). Workforce Turnover Around the World. Mercer.
Mihelich, M. (2013, Apr 12). Another Generation Rises. Retrieved from Workforce.com: https://www.workforce.com/news/another-generation-rises-looking-beyond-the-millennials
Tan Shen Kian, W. F. (2012). GENERATION X AND Y AND THEIR WORK MOTIVATION. Proceedings International Conference of Technology Management (pp. 396-408). Malaysia: Business and Entrepreneurship.
(The author is a Ph.d student in Management at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology