Dana Simpson


The purpose of this study was to identify effective engagement strategies for each generation of the work force in a credit union. Credit unions are nonprofit financial organizations dedicated to the common good of their members. Like many other organizations, credit unions are struggling to survive the current economic recession. An important tactic for surviving (if not thriving) during this recession is to ensure that employees are engaged, as engaged employees tend to produce more, deliver better products and services, and help the organization outperform the competition. While models exist for enhancing employee engagement, these tend to be one-size-fits all and it is questionable whether these models would be effective for engaging all employees in an organization. In particular, employees from different generational cohorts tend to exhibit dramatically different mindsets and workplace behaviors. Given that there are four widely varying generational cohorts in today’s workforce, it is critical to understand how each cohort might uniquely become engaged. This study utilized an appreciative inquiry design to solicit participants’ ideas about effective management and engagement strategies by generation along with their ideas about how a multigenerational workforce could be supported in working together. Twelve participants across the four generations present in today’s workforce were included in the study. Participants engaged in sharing stories about their work and helped identified effective management strategies by generation, factors to support multigenerational work together, and engagement drivers by generational cohort. Data collection and data analysis were performed collaboratively by the researcher and participants. Key findings were that preferred management strategies included improved rewards and bonuses, working at home and flexible schedules, improved two-way communication, cross training, improved technology, and better retirement plans. Participants reported no problems with multigenerational work and expressed that flexibility and motivation to be a team player are critical for sustaining positive work together. Generations differed regarding their preferred engagement drivers. Traditionalists wanted more conversations about their retirement, Boomers wanted more participation in decision making and problem solving, Xers wanted flexible hours and increased two-way communication, and Millennials wanted better technology. The limitation of this study was a small sample size and using a limited range of data gathering tools. Further research is advised to continue to build understanding of multigenerational work.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); Intergenerational relations; Intergenerational communication; Conflict of generations; Job satisfaction; Employee motivation; Credit unions -- Management

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Egan, Terri;