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Academic Writing and Research Skills – Literature Review

Importance of Motivating Employees

More and more businesses, particularly in the service industry, are realizing that it is pointless to hire employees if one does not do anything to motivate them to do their best (Mahmoud, 2020). People will be influenced by several additional, extra-monetary considerations when making a decision. This is especially true with very gifted individuals, who have a strong notion of the going pricing for their services and will seek out a company that can match or exceed that pay while also providing additional enticing benefits (Taylor, 2018). Although the specific factors that drive a staff to work may differ from person to person, some essential generalizations can be made about what drives workers.

Companies should realize that providing coaching and improvement opportunities to all workers, particularly the more competent people, will render them more capable and essential to the firm and function as a compelling motivation for them to remain (Taylor, 2018). Companies will inevitably lose employees and, with them, their newly acquired talents. Personnel is not invested in staying with companies that do not provide opportunities for growth (Madhani, 2020). Accepting that workers are increasingly inclined to quit if not nurtured and finding methods to make them desire to stay at the firm is the straightforward answer to this conundrum. Therefore, boosting work engagement is critical to maintaining a productive business, a happy staff, low turnover rates, high profits, and a positive brand persona (Madhani, 2020).

Generational Differences In Workplaces

Due to their internalized employment ethos and vocational outlook on life, Baby Boomers are often seen as competitive, motivated workers who are reputation aware and see themselves as an outgrowth of their jobs (Burgess, 2021). Based on a survey of the relevant studies, it can be concluded that this workforce segment strongly prefers a united and coherent management style in the workplace, organizational hierarchy, and employment rights (Burgess, 2021; Zorova, 2019). Forging team unanimity is something Baby Boomers are naturally inclined to do (Burgess, 2021). This cohort is likelier to be good role models because they value the personalized experience and appreciate face-to-face communication (Burgess, 2021). Baby Boomers believe they will become wealthy if they work hard and make sacrifices; therefore, pay hikes and career advancements inspire them to work hard (Burgess, 2021). Younger generations’ desire for versatile schedules, remote working, and online workplaces may contribute to the belief among Baby Boomers that these individuals do not exert as much effort as their predecessors (Zaharee, 2018 ).

Unlike their Baby Boomer predecessors, members of Generation X place a premium on a healthy work-life equilibrium (Smoyer, 2020). As a whole, they are characterized by greater levels of skepticism, less allegiance, and strong independence than prior generations (Smoyer, 2020). They are also more self-reliant (Smoyer, 2020). They have a propensity to probe and confront their coworkers, which might lead to friction but also encourages creative behavior (Fouché, 2021). Generation X workers want to see results quickly, be involved in all areas of the company, and be allowed to advance their careers on a routine basis (Fouché, 2021). Those in this category prioritize their happiness outside of work, so they move to places with more professional growth opportunities, excellent pay, and good perks (Fouché, 2021). Moreover, generation Xers place a premium on work-life balance and are less inclined to accept an advancement if they think doing so would force them to sacrifice too much of their personal time (Fouché, 2021). As far as they are concerned, the result is all that matters, not how it was achieved (Fouché, 2021).

The Millennial cohort, the most self-assured of all the generations, was raised by guardians who put a premium on their offspring, were committed to helping them develop a strong sense of identity, and showed unwavering commitment to their upbringing (Sharma, 2019). Consequently, members of this iteration have come to anticipate equal treatment in the workplace and to be part of a welcoming and inclusive workplace that values teamwork (Sharma, 2019). Being constantly connected has helped them improve their multitasking skills (Zaharee, 2018 ). Millennials are defined by their interest in learning novel skills and taking advantage of challenging situations. Millennials are like the Baby Boomers in specific ways: they are viewed as upbeat, ambitious workers with high standards for their workplace (Sharma, 2019). In the end, this group has grown up with technology. As a result, they seek to connect and interact in real-time using electronic means such as smartphones, text messaging, and so on instead of employing traditional methods such as talking on the phone or meeting in person (Zaharee, 2018 ).

Essential Factors When Motivating Employees

A scholarly analysis reveals that although studies have looked at intergenerational variations in workplace ideals, they have not found any evidence of changes in personality or incentive drives (Inglehart, 2018). Although a person’s professional ethics are expected to be tied to and impacted by their psychological inclinations and motivational factors, it is crucial to keep these notions separate (Inglehart, 2018).


Simply put, one’s personality is their average or typical manner of acting, reasoning, and perceiving (Bourdieu, 2017). As a result, an individual’s attitude may be a more precise indicator of natural behavior than their beliefs are in employment (D’Arcy, 2019). Temperament variations have been shown to influence both productivity and contentment in the profession, highlighting the need for employers to accommodate workers of all ages and backgrounds (D’Arcy, 2019). As a result, it is clear that businesses should appreciate the intergenerational variances in personnel temperament characteristics if they want to keep a productive and happy staff throughout all three generations (Burgess, 2021). Despite the paucity of publications focusing on the industrial populace, several have looked at generational variations in disposition (Burgess, 2021; Mahmoud, 2020; Sharma, 2019).

Motivational Drivers

In psychology, “motivational drivers” are the elements that spark, steer, and maintain a person’s behavior (Xiong, 2015). Despite the strong connection between ideals and incentives, the latter focuses on the variables that lead to tangible results (Xiong, 2015). The consensus in the organizational research is that members of Generation X do not believe that “hard work pays returns” and that this generation’s lack of organizational devotion results from having seen their elders lose their jobs after years of service (Mahmoud, 2020). Twenge et al. (2004) found generational cohort variations in the locus of control, with the youngsters expressing a considerably more extrinsic locus of control, which is associated with increased skepticism and supportiveness, suggesting that the data confirm this impression. Consequently, members of Generation X may place a higher value on work balance to maintain some sense of “authority” in other areas of their affairs (Fouché, 2021).

The conventional canon suggests that different generations have fundamentally different motivational motivations, although there is evidence that disproves this. According to Hornblower (1997), many members of Generation X think it is possible to go ahead if you only work hard enough. Conversely, differences across groups are likely found in the motivations for putting in long hours (Fouché, 2021). Similar arguments have been made by other academics, who point out that a lack of work ethic may be seen in people of all ages and stages of development (Fouché, 2021). When comparing the motivating elements of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Appelbaum et al. (2004) discovered that counter to popular belief, four of the five motivational components chosen as most essential were similar for both groups (including a promising career path, a generous pay, opportunities for professional growth, and a wide range of stimulating tasks). Their first findings show that intergenerational disparities in willpower might not be as pronounced as is often assumed.


Appelbaum, S. H. (2004). Generation X and the Boomers: Organizational myths and literary realities. Management Research News.

Bourdieu, P. (2017). Habitus. In Habitus: A sense of place (pp. (pp. 59-66)). Routledge.

Burgess, C. T.-O. (2021). Blending Leadership Roles and Theories in Today’s Multi-Generational Organizational Culture: A Practical Review of the Organizational Culture. Handbook of Research on Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Managerial and Leadership Psychology, 42-61.

D’Arcy, J. &. (2019). Cognitive‐affective drivers of employees’ daily compliance with information security policies: A multilevel, longitudinal study. Information Systems Journal, 29(1), 43-69.

Fouché, J. (2021). Exploring the experience of generational stereotypes among employees within South African organizations. (Doctoral dissertation, North-West University (South Africa).

Hornblower, M. (1997). Great expectations. Time 149, no. 23, 58-64.

Inglehart, R. (2018). Cultural evolution: People’s motivations are changing and reshaping the world. Cambridge University Press.

Madhani, P. M. (2020). Effective rewards and recognition strategy: Enhancing employee engagement, customer retention, and company performance. The Journal of Total Rewards, 29(2), 39-48.

Mahmoud, A. B. (2020). “We are not your reincarnation!” workplace motivation across X, Y, and Z generations. International Journal of Manpower.

Sharma, D. (2019). How to recruit, incentivize and retain Millennials. Sage Publications Pvt. Limited.

Smoyer, B. A. (2020). Leading across generations: The organizational shift from baby boomers to millennials.

Taylor, A. K. (2018). INFLUENCE OF REWARD SYSTEMS ON MOTIVATION-PROS AND CONS BASED ON CURRENT LITERATURE. . In Proceedings of the International Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Management (pp. (pp. 1–8).). American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM).

Twenge, J. M. (2004). It is beyond my control: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of increasing externality in the locus of control, 1960-2002. Personality and social psychology review, 8(3), 308-319.

Xiong, L. &. (2015). Motivational drivers that fuel employees to champion the hospitality brand. International Journal of Hospitality Management, pp. 44, 58–69.

Zaharee, M. L. (2018 ). Recruitment and Retention of Early-Career Technical Talent: What Young Employees Want from Employers A study of the workplace attributes that attract early-career workers suggests that Millennials may not be so different from earlier generations. Research-Technology Management, 61(5), 51-61.

Zorova, S. (2019). Factors Controlling Job Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction among Generation Y Workers in the Bulgarian Media Industry: A Qualitative Analysis of Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory (Master’s thesis).


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