In a world where the war for talented employees is intense, managers have the important responsibility, and the challenging task, of keeping employees from multiple generations motivated and engaged at work.
Factors such as advances in technology, increasing diversity and the growing mobility of the workforce shape how organisations should communicate with ‘new entrepreneurial employees’, who will generally negotiate for individualised deals to meet their needs and manage their careers across the boundaries of work and home.
Attending an MBA programme, working on a flexible schedule or working away from the office on certain days a week are examples of increasingly common options that employers provide, to meet the diverse needs of multi-generational workforces.
In negotiating for certain individualised HR deals, employees also seek signs of fairness and consistency in the decision-making process. Managers should map out the procedures and policies through which HR rewards are distributed among employees with this in mind.
Imagine two employees who work in the sales department of an organisation. One works from home on Wednesdays and Fridays, because this allows the most effective work and helps the employee be close to their family. The other takes two afternoons off a week to attend MBA classes, and compensates for this by working during the evenings and at weekends. Both of these employees and the manager are happy, a win-win situation, but what happens to fellow employees who work with them?
It is crucial to follow and implement the rules of fairness and equity to keep today’s competitive, individualistic and mobile employees motivated and productive. Delivering accurate, consistent and bias-free information, rewarding employees based on their contribution, and communicating the norms and policies to all employees when an important decision is made, are all essential.
Dr Yasin Rofcanin is a reader and associate professor of organisational behaviour and human resource management at the University of Bath.