Why is it important to understand the different characteristics of different generations like Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z? Are there different ways to motivate each generation?

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Generational influences affect people's personalities and values, and recognizing those differences allows us to capitalize on the strengths of each distinct generation.

Understanding the differences among various generations begins by acknowledging that vastly different life experiences shape individuals' perspectives and strengths. While baby boomers often grew up without televisions and as part of tightly woven communities, members of Gen Z often grew up with DVD players on long car rides the effects of September 11. The context of childhood experiences and of society's influences during a particular era shape individuals' perspectives, and their strengths and differences often reflect those diverse experiences.

It is important to recognize the way individuals of a particular generation may be impacted by life experiences to foster understanding and collaboration. Reaching across generational divides to harness the collective strengths of every generation can increase the overall wisdom and effectiveness of organizations, groups, and society.

Baby boomers are often products of routine and structure. They grew up believing in the American Dream and are thus motivated by money and respect. They value promotions and personalized recognition.

Gen X has proven adept at balancing work and family time and are often viewed as the best overall workers. They appreciate the ability to work independently and believe that rewards should be based on competence (instead of age or seniority). They can be motivated by flexible work schedules and experience gifting.

Millennials are greatly concerned with ethics and social responsibility. They are motivated by a positive workplace environment and mentoring. They also appreciate flexible schedules.

Gen Z is the overall most proficient with technology and are natural entrepreneurs. They are often motivated by meaningful work and expect regular, personal praise. They are overall less concerned with the appeal of money as an incentive and expect a flexible and diverse work environment.

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