To determine whether Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials have different motivational "triggers", the Incentive Research Foundation recently conducted an extensive review of more than three decades of relevant research in this area, citing 72 unique sources, including books, white papers and articles. In addition, approximately 10 hours of interviews with 11 generational and rewards and recognition experts were conducted, along with a spot survey of meeting planners. What the IRF found is that understanding the general characteristics of these distinct demographic groups is useful and desirable, but those characteristics aren’t definitive when it comes to designing and implementing rewards & recognition programs. Some key highlights:
- Program designers should seek an understanding of how each and every individual employee or consumer is engaged and motivated. Where individual preferences and motivators can be learned, there’s no need to be concerned with factors related to age, generation or life-stage.
- Rewards and incentives designed for demographic categories represent…educated guesswork that pales in comparison to analysis of the ambient data that can target consumers and employees by their actual behaviors.
- With meetings and incentives, the choice of location, the number and duration of business meetings, the dates for an event, the rules around inviting partners and/or children, etc. can’t be mass personalized to the extent many other rewards and incentives programs can.
- The best way to approach incentive, reward and recognition program design may be to adopt a multi-dimensional view – a set of lenses that considers both generational and life-stage preferences – before a program is finalized and communicated.
The study also contains specific information, ideas and checklists on designing group travel, offsite meetings and incentive programs to appeal to the various demographic groups that comprise today’s workforce. To read the full report, go to www.TheIRF.org