Recognise This: All employees – regardless of generation or length of service – need reasons to engage with your company and strategic objectives.

Which demographic poses the greatest challenge to raising engagement levels in your organisation: GenY (new) employees or “lifers” (those who have been with the organisation for many years)?

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit/HayGroup study we’ve been looking at all week, the C-suite seems to have drunk the Kool-aid on GenY, believing them hardest to engage. But other senior staff believe long-serving staff are the greater challenge:

Long-serving staff pose the greatest engagement challenge. Respondents believe overwhelmingly that it is hardest to raise the engagement levels of ‘experienced and long-serving staff’. Again, however, C-suite executives reach a different conclusion from those below them. Only 27% of CEOs believe that this group presents the greatest challenge in raising engagement levels, as opposed to 57% of senior vice-presidents, heads of departments or business units. The C-suite is more likely than others to say that the under-25s represent the most problematic group of employees, in line with the current management orthodoxy surrounding Generation Y.”

As I’ve said before, GenY styles and expectations are really no different than those who preceded them – a desire to know that the work they are doing is correct, useful and meeting the requirements. Like all “new” employees, they’re often trying to “prove” themselves and their value to the organisation.

For some long-serving staff, however, it can be easy to fall into a rut, even if that rut is a productive one.

Once complacency settles in, how engaged are you really with your work, the customer or the company’s goals?

Of course these are broad brush strokes. I’m being overly simplistic, I know. I’m curious, though. Who do you side with? Is the C-Suite right that GenY are harder to engage? Or are the vice presidents and business heads correct that long-serving staff are more challenging?

Links to all posts on Economist Intelligence Unit/HayGroup study:
Part 1: C-Suite Blind to Reality of Employee Engagement
Part 2: The Board Must Care about Employee Engagement for Improvement to Be Seen
Part 3: Many Managers Won’t Act on Engagement Unless Empowered by the C-Suite

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