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The popular media, authors, consultants, reporters, professional speakers and others drive the conversation, sometimes in a genuine effort to help, in other cases, perhaps to fan the flames of a debate that may deserve less attention. For organizations hoping to tailor their incentive and engagement programs for employees and customers, the debate concerning the generations can be confusing and even overwhelming.
Like economists, no two generational experts fully agree on the description for each generation, a truth that is well-documented both in the expert interviews conducted for and summarized in this paper, and in the dozens of papers, books and articles referenced throughout.
In particular, there is little consensus where traits and characteristics of the generations are concerned. These factors influence their motivations at work and their desire for certain goods and services or rewards and other preferences.
Some experts argue that the formative life experiences shared by each generation make them unique and stay with them from youth through retirement. In catering to consumers, leading organizations are beginning to leverage increasingly sophisticated data algorithms to gain far more accurate insights into individual preferences, motivation and engagement.
In the near future, most or all organizations will do the same for employees as well, obviating the need for the broad, educated guesses based on generations or life-stages.
Until then, and despite the differences of opinion referred to above, organizations should seek to understand the age and life-stage demographics of their workforce and the broad preferences and motivators associated with each.
Doing so will not provide knowledge of the specific drivers for each employee or customer, but it will deliver a basis on which to approach people generally—whether employees or customers.
This is a useful, if imperfect approach to consider in designing reward, incentive and recognition programs for employees and marketing and incentive programs aimed at consumers.
About the Research This white paper is based on an extensive literature review extending beyond two decades and citing seventy-two unique sources, including books, white papers and articles. In addition, approximately ten hours of interviews with eleven generational and rewards and recognition experts were conducted.
Finally, a spot survey of meeting planners was conducted; the results of which are available in Appendix C Part One: Within the workforce, four distinct generations currently work side-by-side, with a fifth generation set to enter in As of Februaryabout 55 million "Millennials," year-olds form the largest share of the US civilian workforce.
In Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce, and by —in just five years —Millennials will comprise about half the workforce. Or, is the study of the generations a red herring—a waste of time? Beyond gaining an understanding of the demographics of the workforce, should organizations manage and motivate workers and market to customers from the three generations differently to the extent of tailoring programs, products, services, rewards, incentives and work conditions in an attempt to better engage employees or consumers from the three different generations?
This paper attempts to help organizations answer these questions. Specifically, by addressing the challenges in motivating and engaging the three generations of workers and consumers through reward, recognition and incentives programs, and to a smaller degree, through tailored consumer products and services.
The extensive and growing literature about generational differences provides dozens—perhaps hundred — of definitions of the three main generations at work today. Most offer descriptions and many provide tips on how to manage or market to the various generations.
Generational definitions usually start by describing the age parameters of each cohort. Despite many differences, most experts agree on reasonably similar age ranges—within years at either end—to classify the various generational cohorts. For the purposes of this paper, a range of definitions from eleven credible sources was used to find a mid- range estimate for each of the generations Figure Two.
This definition also carries the advantage of examining three cohorts of roughly the same duration years. Unfortunately, a common definition of the generations becomes much more elusive in the statements, characteristics or stereotypes ascribed to each.
At a superficial level, we tend to paint members of the various generations with the same brush by labeling all or most members of a generation with identical attributes.
The reality, of course, is much more complex and nuanced. Codrington likens the generations to trees. He points out that to draw conclusions about a specific tree, you have to look at it individually.
But trees that were planted at around the same time in a particular place will share common characteristics, and it is possible to predict broadly how fast and large they will grow, how much fruit they will produce, etc. They might, therefore, share similar perspectives throughout their careers and lives.Netflix Case Solution, Netflix, Reed Hastings, founded with a vision of offering a home movie that would do a better job of customer satisfaction that the model of traditional re.
Phil, I agree with you but I think you’ve failed to mention the real point behind the performance reviews these days: HR and Legal. So many companies use these as their “backup” in the case that a dismissed employee files a grievance of some sort.
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Scott Anthony is the managing partner of the innovation and growth consulting firm Innosight. He is the author of several books, including The Little Black Book of Innovation and The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the srmvision.com Gilbert is the president of BYU-Idaho and the former CEO of Deseret News Publishing and Deseret Digital Media.
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