New generations – New roles – New employee retention strategies

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There have always been generation gaps in the workplace. Yet businesses seem to be more and more concerned about gen Y entering the labor market and changing the rules of the game. The biggest challenge they face: employee retention.

How can they engage and retain these digital natives?


Every generation comes with its own set of rules. Although the main employee engagement drivers transcend generations, there are significant differences between how Baby Boomers feel about the workplace, as opposed to gen Y or even Gen Z.

In a recent study, Ernst and Young identified the main dissimilarities between the current active generations. Take a look:


o    Boomers scored high in being a productive part of organizations (69%), “hardworking” (73%, the highest), a “team player” (56%), and nurturing and essential for others’ development (55%).

o    While members of the boomer generation were strong performers in most areas, they were not viewed as the “best” generation in areas such as being adaptable (10%); collaborative (20%); social media opportunists (6%); and “brand ambassadors,” or leveraging various channels (e.g., social media platforms, speaking engagements) to build an emotional connection and engagement with a brand (16%).

o    Boomers are considered the least “tech savvy” (27%) of the three generations, and this attribute had the widest disparity among generations (a 58% gap between boomers and Gen Y).


o    Compared with other generations, members of Gen X achieved the top scores in being considered a “productive part of my organization” (73%), a “team player” (65%) and “nurturing and essential for development opportunities” (56%).

o    In addition, when asked which generation is the “best” at displaying select positive characteristics, respondents cited members of Gen X most frequently in seven out of 11 attributes. Examples include being a “revenue generator” (58%) and “relationship builder” (53%), as well as possessing traits of “adaptability” (49%), “problem-solving” (57%) and “collaboration” (53%). However, members of Gen X lag behind boomers in being perceived as “best” at displaying executive presence (28% vs. 66%) and being cost effective (34% vs. 59%).

o    They were least likely to be considered “difficult to work with” (16%) or “cynical and condescending” (29%).


o    Members of Gen Y were viewed as the “best” at being “tech savvy” (78%) and being social media opportunists, or leveraging social media beyond marketing (70%) – the two largest endorsements any generation received. Gen Y also scored higher than boomers for being the “best” at “collaboration” (27% vs. 20%), “adaptability” (41% vs. 10%) and being “entrepreneurial” (29% vs. 15%).

o    Support for Gen Y to manage in 2020 nearly doubles, according to survey respondents, but this generation needs to improve several characteristics to get there. Members of Gen Y scored high marks for being “enthusiastic” (68% agree) but had lower scores than other generations for being perceived as a “team player” (45%), “hardworking” (39%) and “a productive part of my organization” (58%).

o    They also scored highest in three out of four negative traits in the survey, such as being perceived as “difficult to work with” (36%), “entitled” (68%) and “lacking relevant experience” (59%). Yet it’s interesting to note that members of every generation view their own generation as entitled to a degree, including 60% Gen Y, 49% Gen X and 27% boomers.

In the past few years, it has become abundantly clear for HR managers that they need to re-think their employee retention strategies, in order to keep up with these significant changes that gen Y employees bring.

Finding out what motivates these new employees and how to best leverage their positive attributes is key to designing an efficient HR game plan.


Speaking of the gen Y revolution, these new professionals exert their preference for freedom and flexibility in a number of ways, one of which is creating new roles. If a gen Y feels like they have a certain purpose and they want to follow their path in a specific direction, they will undoubtedly create it, if it doesn’t already exist.

Key findings from KPMG’s Center of Excellence Survey reveal that younger skilled workers seem less interested in traditional roles and see themselves as free agents. They may not all be entrepreneurs but they are best described by an entrepreneurial outlook on workplaces and job roles….

Source: Blog – Hppy

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