Recognise This! – Are our retention needs more determined by our life stage or our generation?

Considering we are in an economic recovery (slow though it may be) and companies are now at a point where hiring is becoming a necessity just to maintain productivity levels (never mind continue to compete in an improving economy), Deloitte’s research “Talent Edge 2020” is quite interesting on what employers must do to retain their employees.

According to the report, the top retention incentives across generations were:

1)      Promotion/job advancement (53%)

2)      Increased compensation (39%)

3)      Additional bonuses or other financial incentives (34%)

4)      Boosting employee support/recognition from their managers (30%)

The first three are clearly reflective of the actions taken by many organisations during the recession – promotions to account for the extra work so many shouldered, increased pay to offset pay freezes and even reductions, bonuses to acknowledge all that so many helped to achieve in tough times. The fourth, however, that one is a perennial requirement, regardless of economic environment.

Generational response is also very different. Abhishek Mittal, the excellent Mumblr blogger, from the report showing the different requirements of the various generations, and summarising as:

    “For the Gen Y (age under 30 yrs), the report says, non-financial aspects are critical. Company culture, flexi-work arrangements, training opportunities and managerial support & recognition are key factors which make these employees stay put in their organisations. For the Gen X (30-44 yrs), Baby Boomers (45-64 yrs) and Veterans (above 65 yrs), the retention drivers are centred more around the financial incentives. This is a very interesting finding, which contradicts the conception that Gen Y employees are only looking for better pay opportunities.”

As with all such generational studies in the workplace, I wonder if generation is more the correct marker or life stage.  I tend to think that as Gen Y ages, their No. 1 concern may become additional financial incentives and bonuses. What’s important to us at work depends more on our greater selves — a single working parent of 25 will likely have the same motivators as a single working parent of 35 and that will be different from the motivators of a single 25-year-old employee with no children.

What’s your top retention driver? Do you think that driver is more tied to your generation or to the stage of life you find yourself in?

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