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I would agree that in general motivations are similar across the different generations. However, communication styles and the way we connect with the generations are different. At the base level, each generation may crave recognition - the way in which recognition is delivered can be (and should be) very different depending on the generations.

Example (and I'm generalizing for effect): Boomers "usually" want recognition to be public accompanied by something tangible to verify the recognition.

Gen Y may want an additional assignment that allows them to highlight the skills/aptitudes that earned them the recognition in the first place.

I would suggest that many Boomers would bemoan the extra assignment by saying - "Yeah I got recognized and I got more work."

Additionally, I would suggest as the ability to gather and manage information allows us to really target our reward and recognition so that we don't need to have "generalizations." The comment has been made lately that "there is no average" any more - there are only individuals. We now can focus and target our communications so we don't have to create large segments to communicate with - we can get down to the person.

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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