Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Generational Workforce Demographic Trends and Total Organizational Rewards Which Might Attract and Retain Different Generational Employees

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Generational Workforce Demographic Trends and Total Organizational Rewards Which Might Attract and Retain Different Generational Employees

Article excerpt


The indication of generational workplace values and attitudinal workplace preferences specifically impacts employee motivation to be attracted to and to remain with an organization. This is just one part of a vast literature on generational workforce matters (Gordon, 2010; Kapoor & Solomon, 2011; Luscombe, Lewis, & Briggs, 2013; Real, Mitnick, & Maloney, 2010; Solnet, Kralj, & Kandampully, 2012; Thompson, 2011). The empirical research derived mainly from cross-sectional designs and meta-analytical reviews is confusing and contradictory. This research has produced a myriad of identified various work-related values and workplace preferences across these different generations. This research has also raised the specter that targeted organizational interventions addressing generational differences may not be effective (Costanza, Badger, Fraser, Severt, & Gade, 2010; Jurkiewicz, 2000).

Research devoted to addressing the question of which organizational reward practices can be used to recruit and retain employees across all generations is relatively sparse. The standard research design for this type of investigation looks at reward practices for a specific generation rather than across multiple generations (i.e., Thompson & Gregory, 2012; Beechler & Woodward, 2009; Westerman & Yamamura, 2007; Nelson & Glassman, 2004). It is still not clear what value the notion of generational difference has for practicing managers. However, it is empirically clear that different generations of potential recruits and employees do have some similar as well as different workplace values and preferences. Are there enough differences in these workplace values and preferences among generations to warrant organizations taking differentiated reward practices to recruit and retain employees? A conceptual answer based on review of available research is proposed in this article, but the recommended conceptual associations should be empirically tested by future academic researchers.

This article begins with a presentation of a theoretical framework that relates how workplace values lead to attitudinal workplace preferences. These values and preferences subsequently motivate a person to become attracted to and to remain with an organization. Following this presentation, the four generations' major work-related values and workplace preferences will be presented. Finally, our associations regarding organizational total reward package elements will be presented.

A Theoretical Framework

Work values have been found to shape attitudinal workplace preference and create motivations to be behaviorally attracted to and remain with an organization (Twenge, Campbell, Hoffman, & Lance, 2010). This workplace represent a values approach to motivation assumes people will be motivated by activities and outcomes they value (Maslow, 1943; Pinder, 1997; Twenge, Campbell, Hoffman, & Lance, 2010; Vroom, 1964). Work values represent outcomes that people desire and feel they can attain in their workplace (Brief, 1998; Cherrington, 1980; Frieze, Olson, & Murrell, 2006). They also reflect what they believe to be fundamentally right or wrong in their work environment (Brief, 1998; Cherrington, 1980; Smola & Sutton, 2002). Work values shape perceptions of workplace preferences, which exert a direct influence on employee attitudes and behaviors (Dose, 1997). Work values have been closely linked to motivation and job satisfaction (White, 2006). They are also correlated with the retention attitudes of organization commitment and the turnover attitude of intent to leave (Elizur & Koslowky, 2001; Ogaard, Marngurg, & Larsen, 2007).

Specific values tend to influence specific attitudes that tend to predict specific behaviors (Harrison, Newman, & Roth, 2006). Work attitudes are defined as evaluative (cognitive) or emotional (affective) reactions to various aspects of work (Hulin & Judge, 2003). …

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