How to Motivate Multi-Generational Teams

How to Motivate Multi-Generational Teams

by Dr. Rick Goodman on December 28, 2017

Diversity makes your team stronger—yet it can also present its own set of challenges.

Generational diversity is especially difficult to manage. While there are limitations to the sweeping statements and broad inferences to be made about Boomers, Gen Xers, etc., the simple truth is that people from different generations can bring different motivators and different assumptions to the workplace.

And as a leader, you have to juggle all of those things, all while keeping your entire team on the same page, aligned with the same sense of mission.

So what can you do to navigate these challenges? Here are some tips on motivating multi-generational workforces.

Offer Affirmations—Regularly

There’s a lot of talk about how millennials like to receive recognition. Honestly, I think that’s baloney. Everyone likes to be recognized for good work—regardless of the generation they hail from.

Develop a rhythm of praising people when they do good work. Keep it simple: When somebody gets a glowing customer review, or completes a big assignment, offer them kudos. Don’t wait until annual review season to give a few pats on the back. Offer a simple expression of praise whenever it’s called for.

Focus on Transparency

A big part of motivating employees of different ages is just to keep them all on the same page. That means being transparent about your team’s mission—and the hurdles it faces.

Communicate the big-picture mission statement for your company, as well as long-term and short-term goals. Also reveal the current challenges you see before you. Get the full team to weigh in on possible ways forward. Make sure everyone has a sense of what’s going on, and make sure everyone has a voice.

Provide Learning Opportunities

Everyone likes to be affirmed. Everyone benefits from transparency. And—finally—everyone, regardless of age, wants to learn more.

Learning and career development remain two of the strongest sources of workplace motivation. Make sure you offer them across the board—through mentorships, through hands-on learning opportunities, and through classes or seminars.

Invite everyone on your team to broaden their horizons. They’re never too young—or too old.

Motivating Team Members from Different Generations

There are always going to be hiccups as you try to engage team members from different backgrounds and perspectives—but these basic tenets can help unify your efforts.

Learn more about motivating your team by reaching out about my coaching and keynote speaking; I’d love to help motivate your workforce.

Contact me at or call 888-267-6098.

Dr. Rick GoodmanHow to Motivate Multi-Generational Teams