Exploring What Motivates the Modern Workforce


Last Friday I had the honor of representing SHRM at the Saint Peter’s University 44th Annual Regent’s Business Symposium. This year’s theme was Beyond the Gold Watch: Motivating the Modern Workforce.  Chester Elton, employee engagement expert, leadership consultant and bestselling author, was the keynote speaker.  I participated in a panel Q and A moderated by Chief Business and Economics Correspondent for ABC News, Rebecca Jarvis.  The other panelists were Elizabeth Walker, VP of global talent management at Campbell Soup Company and Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding and a TIME and Forbes columnist. 

The audience of business leaders, academics and students posed some excellent questions.  What makes the modern employee, particularly Millennials, stay with a company?  Conversely, what drives them to seek employment elsewhere?  How are the generations different and how are they the same?  My panel colleagues had insightful perspectives on these and other questions.  For example, Elizabeth Walker spoke about positioning workplace benefits and rewards to recognize the diversity of her workforce.  Dan Schawbel talked about how changes in the economy were pushing individuals to diversify their careers to protect themselves from the uncertainty of the job market – likening it to having a diverse investment portfolio.

Many of the questions I was asked focused on generational differences in the factors that determine job satisfaction and engagement.  Our SHRM 2015 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report: Optimizing Organizational Culture for Success provides a rich source of data on this topic.  It reveals that though there are some differences between the generations when it comes to what they value in a job, the most important factor to employees of all ages is “respectful treatment of employees at all levels of the organization”.  This is followed by “trust between employees and senior management”.  While intangible factors like these are critical to employee job satisfaction, factors like benefits and compensation are still high on the list.  The day’s discussion underscored the importance of all of these factors and of HR’s role in ensuring business success.

For more about the event go to:  http://www.saintpeters.edu/news/2015/11/10/industry-experts-explore-how-to-motivate-the-modern-workforce/



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