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Marketing pundits have always advocated that the buying behaviours of people vary as they move through the different stages of the family life cycle. This is reflected in their tastes, their needs, their state of health and well being, the extent of their responsibilities, the level of their disposable income etc.

Why don’t we in the business of people management use this age old knowledge profitably?

The family life cycle, typically has 6 stages:

  1. Unmarried
  2. Young, newly married couples- no children
  3. Young married couples-with small children
  4. Older married couples with growing children
  5. Older married couples with children no longer living with them
  6. Older retired couples and single people- the solitary survivors

I advocate designing the following, keeping these inherent differences in mind:-

  • Compensation packages with sensitivity to individual needs. A deferred pension plan has no meaning for a young person of 21 at the start of their career- just as a 75 % performance linked package can send the shivers down the spine of most older people, especially those in categories 4,5 & 6 above.
  • Work policies which seek to fulfill individual priorities. Greater flexibility in work timings would be much appreciated by the young mother. The young bachelor may not mind much longer work hours. For some, especially older people, higher mobility in terms of frequent re-locations could well be a deterrent.
  • Reward and Recognition processes that hit the right button with each individual: While there is no one who cannot do with more money, monetary rewards certainly have greater impact on those who need that more than others. For some, the feeling of belonging and the social aspect of work may count for more than money alone.

You get the picture. A carefully thought out strategy to give the people who work for you what matters most for them can only get you their commitment and total engagement.

It would be interesting to hear your views/experiences.

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This is Post No: 187 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success