By Mike Ryan, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Client Strategy, Madison Performance Group
In these trying times, people are looking for more from their employer: career development opportunities, work-life balance, the chance to be part of an innovative company culture, and a firm that appreciates who they are and what they bring to the table—one that shares their “personal mission statements.”
Essentially, as we enter a new stage of economic recovery—one that eventually could lead to a hiring free-for-all—businesses that wish to retain their key employees should consider reengineering their messaging now. The aim should be to align their recognition communications to employees’ values.
Keep in mind that Boomers want something different from their employer than Echo Boomers. Fundamentally, Boomers want to feel as if there career to date has had value and that their experience and wisdom will be used moving forward. Echo Boomers may feel their journey is just beginning. They are making conscious comparisons in an effort to determine where to hitch their wagon moving forward; evaluating their position and its long-term value every day.
Echo Boomers have witnessed economic shifts and have grown up under circumstances that make them less likely to trust employers. At the same time, they are more open to “connecting” with new groups and are eager to embrace cohorts they identify with. Employers that provide a source of growth and community will position themselves as part of the “inner” circle. Organizations that acknowledge an individual in a manner that fits that person’s value sets carry more weight with the employee.
Companies that are unsuccessful usually fail because they take a “one-message-fits-all” approach to recognition communication. Their messages do not resonate and become background noise for the employee. They get tuned out by workers and actually have an adverse effect—they reinforce the fact that the employee and employer have little in common. That’s a fatal mistake when you consider that a sense of commonality—some call it mutuality—is what drives employee engagement.
Employers should leverage an employee’s desire to contribute and grow every day—and in the process reaffirm that values between employee and employer are, indeed, shared. Strengthening that connection will drive engagement and solidify a firm’s position as the employer of choice—one that shares the unique standards, principles, and aspirations held by multiple generations of modern-day workers.
Understanding Boomers and Echo Boomers
As senior vice president of Marketing and Client Strategy at Madison Performance Group, Mike Ryan has helped many of the world’s leading brands and executives define program strategies that minimize costs, deliver a higher level of motivational impact to participants, increase planning flexibility for stakeholders, and offer the financial controls and projected returns that sponsors demand. Ryan is president of The Performance Improvement Council (PIC), a board member of The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), and a trustee of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).