How knowledgeable is your business about generational employee engagement? Some compelling insights on this urgent topic have emerged from the 2016 ADP Employee Engagement Study, a survey (conducted in partnership with MSI International) of 5,000 full- and part-time employees, ages 21 and older, who work in companies with at least five employees.

Here's an overview of what different generations value in the workplace:


Money is a key motivator across generations, particularly among millennials and Gen Xers who are looking to change jobs. Baby boomers want to be paid fairly for their current job.


Younger workers favor education-related perks and paid maternity/paternity leave, while baby boomers are more interested in employee discount and wellness programs.


Employees across the "generational landscape" strongly value a good work-life balance. However, millennials place a higher priority on being able to build downtime into their work schedules than Gen Xers and baby boomers do.


Regardless of age, employees consider financial rewards as the most important form of recognition. Other types of rewards (such as praise and Employee of the Month awards) become less significant for baby boomers.


Though workers in all age groups find effective onboarding and acquisition practices to be fairly important, this is a priority for millennials in particular.

Company Leadership

Nearly half of millennials feel that their company's leaders aim for transparency, while 38 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of baby boomers believe this to be the case. In addition, 51 percent of millennials are inspired by the leaders of their company to succeed, which is, on average, 12 percentage points higher than other generations.


Millennials report a more positive perception of the value of training in relation to performance, growth and career goals than other generations. As employees become more senior, thus acquiring greater experience and broader skill sets, less importance is placed on training and development.

Employers should note that several factors, including age, life stage and experience, affect generational employee engagement across the board. Among those considered "unengaged" in the study, 41 percent are Gen Xers, while 34 percent are baby boomers and 25 percent are millennials.

Learn More About Engaging and Retaining Your Employees

ADP will host a one-hour webinar, Talent Engagement and Retention — There's Science Behind It!, on November 9 at 1 p.m. EST. Jordan Birnbaum, ADP Chief Behavioral Economist and Julie Arzonico, ADP Corporate Market Insights, will present insights and research that get to the core of employee engagement, with tips and best practices your business can implement right away for greater retention.

Check out the ADP Engagement Meter to see where your employees rank.

While generations may place different values on the factors discussed above, as an employer, you should continue to treat all employees similarly and apply policies consistently.

Tags: Gen X Baby Boomers engagement Millennials