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Let's Go To The Movies!

Written By Eurica G

You've probably heard of Generation X and Y, and maybe Boomers or Millennium Babies, but what are they and how can you help them to stay motivated in the workplace? Perhaps a trip to the movies can help.


The clear rank structure for the good guys in Forbidden Planet appeals to the Boomers’ expectation that industriousness and loyalty will lead to greater reward. They grew up in a world where discipline and team spirit won the battles. They're prepared to serve their apprenticeships and prove themselves to earn the coveted name on the door. They're the ones who will want feedback face-to-face and are keen to pass on what they know.

Generation X

The Star Wars generation can remember when computer programmes loaded via a tape recorder. Independent, ambitious and looking for meaningfulness at work, you can manage them with a light hand. They want to learn and are used to being on the leading edge of change. Give them this, and the chance for responsibility without micromanagement, and you'll get the best out of them.

Generation Y

If you have staffs that see management as a negotiation process they're likely to be Generation Y. Born in a period when ET epitomised the values of family and belonging, they were instilled with the belief that their opinions mattered and they could be anything. There could be knowledge gaps to address. Technology beyond mobile phones and social media may be alien to them and their education might not have focused on the finer points of written communication. They need to be nurtured, to be shown how they make a difference to the team and the organisation.

Millennium Babies

Life in an interweb goldfish bowl is natural for the Millennium Babies, plugged into a Matrix-like network of social media as they are. They may struggle with workplace etiquette of what should and shouldn't be publicised online, but tap into their understanding of the world of information and give them a little guidance, and the possibilities are endless.

How Do You Motivate Them?

Now that you know which generations your team members are, how do you motivate them?

You'll be relieved to know that by identifying the common factors, and building in the ability to personalise your approach, it can be simple. All you need to do is engage in effective two-way communication, give performance feedback, follow through with opportunities to develop or share skills, value them as individuals for their contribution, and recognise them in a personal way that tallies with their goals.

Of course people are complex and rarely fall into a single category but isn’t that the beauty and strength of teamwork?

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