A Time to Build: Maximizing Employee Engagement in a Multi-Generational Workforce

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In economic climates characterized by volatility and uncertainty, it is particularly important for organizations to maximize the use of their workforce. Hence, the notion of employee engagement, (the degree to which employees are satisfied with their jobs, feel valued, and experience collaboration and trust), is gaining considerable attention within organizations. In addition, the contemporary workforce is characterized by unprecedented diversity, particularly in the area of age diversity. Employees in modern organizations may span several generations, creating a rich and diverse environment, along with necessary and varied age related considerations. This paper considers the impact of age diversity on employee engagement through the lens of psychological contract theory. We review foundational evidence that suggests employees who feel engaged contribute to several positive organizational outcomes. We then argue that consideration of employee expectations which may be influenced by employee age is an important step towards maximizing employee engagement. We draw upon psychological contract theory to explore the relationship between age, expectations, and engagement and present empirical evidence which supports a significant relationship between age and specific employee expectations. The paper concludes with suggestions for both practice and continued research.


Keywords: Psychological Contract, Employee Engagement, Age Diversity
Stream: Economics and Management
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Time to Build, A


Dr. Morgan Milner

Assistant Professor, Department of Management
College of Business, Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Dr. Milner received his Ph.D. in the field of Organizational Behavior from Michigan State University. Prior to pursuing a career in research and academia, he gained experience in a variety of business fields including banking, investment finance, insurance, and consumer products finance. Dr. Milner draws upon his organizational experience to inform and shape his exploration of theory in numerous contexts. He has published articles and presentations in the field’s top venues. Dr. Milner teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, and general management skills. Dr. Milner’s research focuses on psychological skill sets of organizational members and on interpersonal interactions of dyads and teams in organizational settings. Specific topics include individual perceptions and breach of the psychological contract.

Connie Elliott

Human Resource Associate, Jones Lang LaSalle
San Francisco, CA, USA

Connie Elliot is a Human Resource Associate at Jones Lang LaSalle, a public company with over 10,000 employees and an industry leader in property and corporate facility management services, with a portfolio of approximately 1.2 billion square feet worldwide. Connie received her Masters of Science in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development from Eastern Michigan University in 2008. Prior to pursuing her degree, Connie made contributions as a recruiter at Nelson Staffing Solutions and as a Senior Career Services Coordinator at the University of Michigan. Connie received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of San Francisco.

Dr. Megan Endres

Associate Professor, Department of Management
College of Business, Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Dr. Endres specializes in self-efficacy perceptions and other generative cognitive processes that occur during complex task performance. She also investigates the role of self-efficacy and group processes in software development projects.

Ref: I08P0836