New rules for engagement multi-generational workplaces

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A study released last week by the MetLife Mature Market Institute details the most important factors for engaging different segments of the work force.

Titled “Engaging the 21st Century Multi-Generational Workforce,” the study indicates that employers can maximize the strength of their work forces and optimize worker productivity by using best practices geared to the various generations.

Conducted in partnership with Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging & Work, the study explores the drivers of engagement for employees of different ages, including demographic characteristics, factors related to the job and work-team factors.

The Institute defines “engagement” as “a positive, enthusiastic and affective connection with work that motivates an employee to invest in getting the job done, not just ‘well’ but ‘with excellence.’”

Also noteworthy was the MetLife finding that older workers are more engaged than younger workers.

For many business leaders, this information will come as no surprise. The research suggests that “focusing on the talent management of older individuals is important because they may best relate to the baby boomer customer base responsible for $3.8 trillion of annual spending in the U.S.”

They also found the highest levels of engagement among women, without elder care responsibilities, in good physical and mental health, with a positive self-perception and those having job security.

Three key findings indicate that employee engagement can be greatly enhanced by simple and cost-efficient efforts, including providing strong training and development opportunities, encouraging work team inclusion, offering customized benefits plans, and promoting a culture of workplace flexibility and supervisor supportiveness.

None of these findings came as new revelations to us, and we found the absence of life-work balance interesting, but not surprising, given the economic times.

Wise employers will update their assumptions about the generations and will pay particular attention to how they can enhance employee engagement through the quality of the employment experiences they offer.

The study and the accompanying tool kit are available at www.maturemarketinstitute.com.

From The Herman Trend Alert, by Joyce Gioia-Herman, strategic business futurist. www.hermangroup.com.