How to make work attratice?

Jobcrafting for four generations – simultaneously!

Dreaming of the ideal job doesn’t help you that much. Design it yourself. It’s one of the fashion buzzwords of today’s corporate world: job crafting. Putting together your own dream job naturally starts with knowing what is important to you. Job crafting is one of the strategies used to reduce the impact of a slowly tightening labor market. Another strategy is to “find & bind”. However you describe it, the words don’t soften the numbers. Shortages on the labor market require broader thinking than we are used to. Especially with four generations in the workplace.

We researched Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation X employees and prospective employees on what makes a job attractive to them. That resulted in interesting data! As it turns out, they are not as different as it seems….The new employees (from generations Y and Z) are eager to accelerate this innovation. We also award employees from Generation X and the Baby Boomers a job craft, but do they want that? And what about all that freedom in the content of work for gene Y and Z? Do they want that? Well no. They don’t.

Figures from CBS show that there are also far too few available employees in that age category. The labor force due to the exploding flow of vacancies due to the boom is shrinking. Not only is unable to find employees a serious game-changer: after all, those who are not productive do not deliver value and you are paid for that. Keeping employees nowadays is a job in itself. Here: the tension is rising. Not just in healthcare and technology, but now across sectors.

Changing of the guard

While that is happening, a so-called generation change is taking place in the workplace. Not that that’s new. It is a well-known phenomenon described by the Dutch generation researcher Aart Bontekoning and the sociologist Henk Becker, among others. “A generation change takes place every 15 years. And right now we’re at about a third of that switch. At a generation change, we are talking about a natural process of the life stages of employees. The special thing about this generation change is that, while generation Z is entering the workplace from this year, the Baby Boomer generation still holds sway in a large number of organizations, where Generation X’s have the leadership and transformation roles. And so there are many more reasons for Millennials in this shift to give the strong urge to innovate an extra push: it’s time for a revolution! And this revolution is one with a social twist! In our earlier blog: Why we should let Millennials be our managers, we already say that: let that happen. And opt for mentoring instead of setting milestones. Because shortages on the labor market require different forms and broader thinking!

logo entrepreneurability Do you want to work with all four of these generations? Connecting mastery to innovation power in your organization? Then you need some courage in terms of management. Do not be surprised if you are told to your face what you do not understand and what is not right about your organization. You don’t have to ask for razor-sharp analyzes. You get that. Then also having the guts to be ready with the mastery in your organizational structures and the connectors to give space to innovators, that is brave. Are you hitting the right strings?

Hitting the right string

How do you hit the right note? How do you position yourself for generation Y? And soon for gene Z? That employer branding journey, another buzz word…. It turns out that a dream job is not only made by ingredients that relate to the content of your work, such as doing tasks that match what you already can, learning new things and doing tasks that have an impact on customers. It mainly has to do with the environment in which you work. And not necessarily where you work, but who you work with. And how that feels.
So: what your working environment is like is not about your view or your desk. In particular, it is the atmosphere, how people interact with each other and to what extent you are really involved in the work of your manager and whether that manager also shows genuine interest in you. If you know how to integrate that into how you position yourself as an employer and then actually apply it, you have a chance of winning that coveted title: “Most Attractive Employer of the Year”.

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Source: Dijk, F.S. van (2018), Wat maakt een organisatie aantrekkelijk voor millennials? Employer branding in een krappe arbeidsmarkt. Entrepreneurability.

Better still: those who can give employees the feeling that they recognize themselves in your organization, they do better than other employers. Joeri van den Bergh calls this self-identification in “How hot brands stay hot, branding for generation Y and Z.” Recognizing your own standards and values in those at work is an important predictor of employee satisfaction.


It will surprise you that the differences between generations here are less than that claimed in the current media. Is what works for Generation Xers so much different? Well no. According to our research, Generation Xers, with a few minor nuances, want the same things: good atmosphere, autonomy and growth. For example, a quiet workplace is more important to them than to Gen Y, who are looking for contact: they like to work together, with different departments and colleagues. Where Generation Y’ers really turn off is that eternal doubts about what their job entails. “Be clear what you expect from me,” said a colleague earlier this week in clear terms. “If you just tell me what I’m responsible for, you will get that too!” This clear framework of work tasks is also nice for Generation X. In fact, they are looking for that even more than gene Y. The difference is in how a Millennial communicates that and how we find out from a Babyboomer or Xer. That is so different!

Op dit moment in werkgeversland is vooral aandacht voor Millennials en generatie Z. Zij zijn immers vernieuwend, aanstormend talent. De toekomst. Belangrijk is om ook gen X en de Babyboomers mee te krijgen. In het meesterschap ligt de sleutel verborgen. En wie steeds weer de verbinding weet te leggen tussen meesterschap en innovatiekracht, lees: wie de Babyboomers verbindt met Generaties Y en Z, die behoudt zijn groeikracht.

Curious about what working smarter with generations can do for your organization?

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