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Employee Engagement: A lifecycle segmentation approach

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Tailoring rewards, recognition, and incentives to better match the career stage of your employees.

There's a lot of buzz these days about the changing nature of the workplace. HR professionals talk about special considerations required for Millennial or Gen Z workers. No doubt each generation of worker requires personalized care and feeding to nurture skills and optimize engagement. Another way of approaching rewards is to make adjustments based on career lifecycle stage versus demographic segmentation.

Delivering meaningful rewards and recognition often results in, above and beyond performance, greater resilience to company set-backs and increased company culture engagement. By aligning your rewards with career lifecycle stages, you can more precisely calibrate motivational rewards or program features to see elevated levels of collaboration, higher productivity, greater loyalty resulting in employment longevity and more forceful brand advocacy.

Early Career Stage
This stage in the career lifecycle is where an employee is generally in their first or second professional job. They're most likely single or married with no kids. Their work style includes the ability to juggle multiple tasks, as they are ambitious workers and have the energy to pull it off. They're also curious and often eager to please. Early career employees don't necessarily plan at being at one job forever. The alluring promise of adventure remains appealing. Reward them with new tools or providing learning opportunities. Elevate this group of raw talent and help them discover their hidden interests and unique skills. Put them in collaborative and competitive situations so they can optimize their strengths.

Promising Career Stage
Employees in the stage of a promising career have advanced at least once or recently left but advanced title in a new job. These employees are still ambitious but are more efficient and mindful in their tasks. Because they have a better idea of where they want to take their career, they are a more loyal group and less likely to jump ship. Reward "promising career" employees by keeping giving them fresh, challenging tasks and bringing new technology into their workplace. Recognition of achievement is important to this group so dial up the compliments and social kudos. Help activate even more passionate performance by continuing to present opportunities for them to be inspired.

Mid-Career Stage
An employee who is in a mid-career lifecycle stage has a full list of responsibilities at home AND at work. They most likely have kids, pets, a mortgage, and extracurricular activities to navigate. They have more stressors but are more comfortable in their role at work and know what's expected of them. They can more easily visualize the end goal. At this stage, employees have a stronger sense of company values and culture. The relationships they've forged are now something they appreciate and benefit from. They usually are highly collaborative and easily navigate in team situations. Any way you can help mid-career lifecycle employees stay connected to their coworkers will be embraced. Create opportunities to accelerate meaningful interactions and they will remain highly engaged. Challenges, competitions and leaderboards all work well with this group to activate or motivate.

Retirement Horizon Stage
Looking forward to relaxing days ahead, these employees know what they want out of the day-to-day and are decently set in their ways (rightfully so). They are more comfortable than ever at where they are in their career and understand expectations. They may, however, lack initiative or motivation yet have much to contribute. Engage them with projects that call upon their core strengths. Challenge them to teach others and share their knowledge. Appeal to their skillset and respect their title. Reward them for their loyalty and achievements. Recognize their expertise but provide extra incentives when they help others to achieve great outcomes. To best leverage the potential of this group, recognize their noteworthy collaborations even more than their individual accomplishments.

The workplace can be challenging, but the well-being of your employees inside and out is strengthened through the rewards, recognition, incentives, perks, kudos, and benefits you provide them. Trust that when your employees feel good, they will perform better. Respect and acknowledge each stage in their career lifecycle and you'll find more effective and efficient ways to keep them engaged and loyal to your company. Above all, remember to communicate to your employees so they know what is expected and appreciate why they're being rewarded.

Workplace Engagement
Employee Recognition
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