They found that in addition, these activities helped offset job burnout and helped build team spirit.
These changes to meet the needs of Generation Xers have led to increased productivity and increased loyalty. When these are added to the ability to work with bleeding-edge technology and business critical projects, Generation Xers are sure to be happy. According to King (1997) these employees are used to multitasking as a way of life, for this reason, lots of opportunity needs to be provided to keep them content.
Leschinsky & Michael (2004) provided research on production employees in the Generation X demographic. Their research focused specifically on the wood product industry, yet their results, they felt, could be symbolic of production employees in other industries as well.
The results of their study were enlightening. They found that Generation Xers ranked good salary and steady employment in the top three of motivational forces. They noted that even when an organization was not able to increase employee pay, focusing on benefits could be very important (Leschinsky & Michael, 2004).
By emphasizing the value of the complete benefit package an employee receives, Leschinsky & Michael (2004) feel that an organization can build the value and loyalty that a heftier salary normally requires. They note that an employee's income is much greater than simply their hourly pay rate. Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, etc. should be shown to the employees and that this can increase morale and motivation.
Mayfield and Keating (2003) reported on their research findings and implications of employment decisions of Generation Xers. Their research focused specifically on consulting engineers. It evaluated the factors Generation X engineers used in making their initial employment decision, specifically to work in a small consulting engineering firm, as opposed to other potential job opportunities.
A sample group of Generation X engineers were targeted, that had recently made their initial employment decision. Interestingly, Mayfield and Keating (2003) noted that Generation X engineers viewed long-term employment as period of time between two and five years, considerably shorter than what their Baby Boomer predecessors considered long-term employment.
One surprising result was discovered during the research process. Generation Xers appeared to be quite willing to seek out positions where they could learn skills and improve themselves, in the long run, rather than simply pursuing short-term financial gratification. Professional growth, in their study, was rated more important than salary. In addition, starting salaries were tempered with future job growth expectations (Mayfield & Keating, 2003).
Clearly, Generation X employees are quite different in their needs and desires than their Baby Boomer predecessors. Although there are still certain unequivocal human motivators at play, the unique talents and quirks of Generation Xers make the development of benefit packages a challenge for organizations. Yet this challenge must be met in order for them to attract and retain the top talent available, and motivate employees to work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Monetary benefits are of importance to Generation Xers, however other factors come into play as well. They want fulfillment, flexibility, a fun work environment, and bleeding-edge technology in a career, for the most part. and, they don't want to be micromanaged (Rodriguez, Green & Ree, 2003). Rigid management styles are ineffective. Flexibility is a valuable benefit in the eyes of a Generation Xer (O'Donovan, 1997).
Pensions and retirement savings are important to this demographic, as they see the current Social Security system as null and void by the time they are ready to retire. Unlike their predecessors, this becomes more important earlier on in their career (Rappaport & Di Leo, 2002).
Generation Xers are always striving to fulfill the highest level of Maslow's hierarchy, the self-actualization category. Therefore benefit packages must include opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Training, continued education, and advancement opportunities can be more powerful than salary alone.
Combine this with a fun and social environment, and Generation Xers may just stick around for more than two to five years. This not only increases organizational productivity, but will also increase competitiveness and is certain to have a positive effect on the organizational bottom line.
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Leschinsky, R.M. & Michael, J.H. (Jan 2004). Motivators and desired company values of wood products industry employees: Investigating generational differences. Forest Products Journal, 54(1). Retrieved November 15, 2004, from ProQuest database.
Matthew, a. (18 Jun 2004). Younger workers start saving sooner for retirement, financial advisors say. Knight Ridder Tribune News. Retrieved November 15, 2004, from Proquest database.
Mayfield, R.W. & Keating, C.B. (Jun 2003). Major factors that influence employment decisions of Generation X consulting engineers. Engineering Management Journal, 15(2). Retrieved November 15, 2004, from Proquest database.
O'Donovan, C. (Dec 1997). The X styles. Communication World, 15(1). Retrieved November 15, 2004, from Infotrac database.
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