Does age really impact on engagement?

by Cameron Edmond20 Aug 2013

Whether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen X or Gen Y, your engagement will not be effected directly by your age, the latest Best Employers study from Aon Hewitt has found.

Instead, the life stages individuals are at will determine what their preferences are, but not their engagement. When HR experiences the failings of engagement, it is more likely due to being out-of-touch with the individual expectations, needs and struggles of the generation they are having trouble with.

“Our study revealed that, among Best Employers – which are those with the most engaged employees – not only were employees of all age groups equally engaged, so were groups at all job levels, from people at the front line right through to senior management,” Stephen Hickey, employee engagement lead at Aon Hewitt, said.

As such, developing engagement initiatives to target individuals or smaller groups (based loosely around age) is all important to bolster the wellness and productivity of employees. While Gen Y was found by Aon Hewitt to be primarily influenced by how enjoyable their work is, Gen X wanted to feel fairly rewarded for their contribution, and Baby Boomers sought well-managed change programs and recognition for their work.

The research found many employers that topped the Best Employer list incorporated wellness programs to achieve engagement across generations. Hickey stated these ranged from financial education programs to those focused on health. “Employees of all ages saw these kinds of initiatives as positive,” he said.

Financial education programs revolved around key life events relevant to the individual employees – focusing on what stage they were in their life.

Although some initiatives may require focusing on the individual, the study found some engagement drivers were common regardless of age. These included career development opportunities and delivery on employment promises.

“Ultimately, employees of all ages want to feel valued and supported by their employer. And, no matter what their age, that includes through financial recognition, career development or programs focused on their financial and personal wellbeing,” Hickey said.


  • by Michael Boehm 21/08/2013 8:41:13 AM

    One reads and hears much about engagement, and other virtues regarding workers from business leaders and HR practitioners. Unfortunately the practice undoes the utterances when we hear age is still a disadvantage in gettng employment.

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