Every generation has its own perspective, preferences, and unique set of events that shape their worldview. For incentive travel program sponsors and event planners, that means there are many different ways group travel incentives can be presented to make them more appealing to each generation. Over the past year, through a series of articles, we’ve discussed presenting travel incentives in ways that motivate Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers. Now, it’s time to discuss the workforce’s smallest generation group: Traditionalists.
Traditionalists (also called Veterans, Matures or the Silent Generation) were born before 1945 and grew up in a post-World War II society, which was prosperous and optimistic after the defeat of Nazi Germany. This generation prized hard work and sacrifice. Although the Pew Research Center estimates that Traditionalists make up only about 2% of today’s workforce, Traditionalists have immensely valuable work experience that makes them assets to every company. Incentive group travel is a great way to motivate and engage them so businesses can still benefit from their dedication and knowledge.
So how can leaders and event planners present incentive travel opportunities in order to maximize Traditionalists’ motivation? By focusing on these four appealing aspects:
Incentive trips can be a way of celebrating company loyalty.
As EBSCO’s “Generations in the Workplace” points out, Traditionalists “came of age in an era in which it was typical for a person to work for a single company until retirement.” Company loyalty is a far more common workplace value for them than the generations that came after. Emphasizing the chance to explore new places and socialize may work on younger generations like Milliennials, but incentive trips would be better presented to Traditionalists as a means of commemorating their dedication, years of service and accomplishments.Bob Nelson, author of Recognizing and Engaging Employees for Dummies, recommends public, formal rewards to engage and motivate Traditionalists. A group travel event is the perfect opportunity to present a Traditionalist employee with a reward for years of service or achievements. Especially if the reward comes from someone high up in the company hierarchy, a Traditionalist will greatly cherish this memorable and public employee recognition.
Group travel allows Traditionalists to network with superiors.
Traditionalists respect company hierarchy and authority. As EBSCO puts it, “This generation respects the chain of command, they value experience in others and in themselves, and they appreciate dedication, loyalty, and hard work.” A group travel trip or meeting could result in Traditionalists being able to mingle with the company higher-ups they respect. This will go a long way in establishing incentive trips as a prestigious, exciting opportunity.
Travel incentives are an opportunity to pass down wisdom.
Since Traditionalists—and now Baby Boomers—are en route to retirement, they’re leaving behind a large group of Millennials, who are both the youngest and the largest generation group in the workplace today. Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists have their work cut out for them when it comes to training up the Millennials who outnumber them. That means the wisdom and experience of older generations—Baby Boomers and Traditionalists—is more valuable than ever before. Group travel offers occasions, both formal and social, for Traditionalists to share their advice with younger generations. They will truly feel their importance in the company’s future when it’s up to them to teach successive generations leadership, passing down their legacy.
Incentive trips are a great way to reduce unhealthy stress.
Unfortunately, work is cited as a stress factor for 84% of the population, according to an Everest College/Harris Institute study. Not only is stress decidedly unpleasant, but the Mayo Clinic also links it to health problems like elevated blood pressure, increased sugar in the bloodstream, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, heart disease and weight problems. That’s not what Traditionalists want to face as they look ahead into their retirement and golden years.
Incentive trips are an excellent way to reduce stress Traditionalists experience at work. Not only are exotic destinations and cushy accommodations great for unwinding, but attendees will be refreshed after the trip and will develop positive associations with their job and colleagues. Time for networking, planning, brainstorming, or just bonding in a low-pressure environment will greatly appeal to the Traditionalists in your workforce.
Although the Traditionalist generation now makes up a small percentage of today’s workforce, they are still an important piece of your business. With the economic downturn still fresh in people’s minds, Traditionalists are more likely to put off retirement as long as they can. One of the best ways to keep them motivated and loyal is by showing your appreciation for their dedication, wisdom and achievements. Travel incentives accomplish all this and more!