Work-Life Balance for the Generation Z Using the Example of the Adidas Group

Term Paper, 2016

22 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

1 Introduction

2 Principles and Achievements of Work-Life Balance
2.1 Definition and Emergence
2.2 Instruments for Compromising Work and Privat Life
2.3 Theory of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

3 Reflection on the Generation Z
3.1 Change of Generations and „War for Talents“
3.2 Characteristics of the „Digital Natives“
3.3 Expectation Towards Employers Based on „Statista“ Survey

4 Examination on the Adidas Group „Campus“
4.1 Methodical Approach
4.2 Key Criteria for Success
4.3 Evaluation in Respect of Work-Life Balance and Motivation

5 Conclusion and Outlook


ITM Checklist

List of Figures

Figure 1: Timeline - Change of Generations

Figure 2: Methodical Approach

List of Tables

Table 1: Comparison of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

Table 2: Evaluation Scheme on Adidas AG

1 Introduction

The society nowadays undergoes manifold social alterations such as demographic change, globalisation or change of generations. The dynamics of these develop- ments do not relate only to the people but also to the companies who have to ac- cept these challenges. The necessity to act upon the requirement of social and economic adaption lead to the formula of success. For instance, attracting young professionals by creating targeted employment conditions constitutes simultane- ously the solution for lack of specialists and the aging workforce in an organisation. According to a recent online survey conducted in Germany by the online statistics portal „Statista“, 81% of young professionals between 25 and 34 years consciously care about work-life balance.1 Focussing on the needs of junior employees, who also go by the term of „Generation Z“ for people born beginning from 1995, repre- sents the current strategic orientation of companies.2 The „Generation Z“ or „Digital Natives“ are to be distinguished from their predecessors in terms of expectations towards employer.3 In comparison to the „Babyboomers“ or „Generation X“, the present generation is surrounded by the omnipresence of Internet and thus social media. Respecting this fact by providing a complying digital work environment, can influnce employer branding and employee motivation in a positive way.4

The objective in this paper is the depiction of the work-life balance concept as a strategy of employer branding in order to finally improve intrinsic and extrinsic moti- vation as a result thereof. Focussing on the practical example of the Adidas Group and its workplace in Herzogenaurach - which is known as „The Adidas Campus“ - the emphasis lies on the evaluation how the expectations of the „Generation Z“ are met and what consequences are revealed. This paper starts by elaborating the term of work-life balance and its significance on employer branding and motivation. Subsequent to this, the „Generation Z“ is introduced regarding its characteristics and expectations towards employment conditions. Finally, the theoretical elabora- tions are implemented in the practical example of the Adidas Group in order to question their success.

2 Principles and Achievements of Work-Life Balance

2.1 Definition and Emergence

The term of work-life balance stands for a well-adjusted relationship between work, life and the individual.5 The objective is to cope with the various requirements in daily life in order to prevent physical or mental illness and to ensure sanity. The relationship between private needs and work challenges depicts the issue of an individual. Private needs such as family, vacation or self-fulfillment suffer at the cost of working conditions. The outcome, for instance, is revealed as burnout syndrome, discontent or demotivation at work. The first appareance was after the World War II when women began to release themselves from their traditional role in the house- hold.6 Until today, work-life balance is often referred to the disparities of women and men in work life. For instance, employing women in high ranked positions or balancing the salary differentials between the genders are still conflicts of the mod- ern world. But recent economic and technological developments also lead to a stronger significance of balancing work with the private life. On the one side, com- panies and employees experience a dynamic changing work environment charac- terized by technological progresses. Adapting this development is a major chal- lenge for companies in order to stay competitive in regards of information procure- ment.7 In addition, using the social media for online presence and providing this idea to employees influences the employer branding in regards of corporate identi- ty. Popular practical examples are the usage of Facebook, Instagram and Goog- lePlus for creating a employer online presence and presenting the company values. On the other side, the role of demographic change emphasizes the relevance of work-life balance. Due to improvements in health care and higher living standards, people and its lifespan prolong. At the same time, the birth rate experiences a de- crease because people are focussing on work.8 According these changes, compa- nies concentrates on the acquisition of young professional employees in order to prevent skills shortage. Winning this competition can be achieved by providing a modern and attractive work environment.9

2.2 Instruments for Compromising Work and Privat Life

The objective of work-life balance is to provide a work environment in a way that the employee can pursue the private needs. The private needs can be defined indi- vidually according the persons mentality and desires. Hence, paying attention to the reasons for the emergence of work-life balance reveal manifold possibilites for companies to conduct purposeful measures. To start with, the offer of (1) flexible working models is an integrated instrument for allowing employees to focus more on private life. Due to flexitime, employees are enabled to start and leave work ear- ly.10 The result lies in the self-control of managing working and leisure time to focus on private needs. The individual is enabled to follow his personal necessities such as sports, hobbies or social bonds. Another example is the part-time working mod- el. Not only women, but also men are interested in reducing working time in favour of quality time with the family and childcare. Flexible working also aims to offer sabbatical programms, which allow employees to have a time-out for recovery from work.11 The duration of the sabbatical can be determined in regards of the employ- ee’s requests and varies from one to multiple months. Another instrument of work- life balance is the conduct of (2) workplace health promotion measures. The inten- tion is to sensitize employees of all ages in regards of labour organization and pro- tection in order to ensure the sanity. Health promotion does not only benefit the employee, but also contributes to the economic objectives of an organization when less people miss work.12 One measure is the choice of health workshops to inform employees about daily risks such as the right ergonomic position. In addition, providing the possibility to visit the internal company medical doctor helps prevent- ing cases of illness. Likewise, offers of company sports activities and in-house cafe- teria with healthy nutrition support employees and their care of health. In special regards of the younger generation, employers are advised to meet the (3) changing requirements of talent management. An attractive employer offer a variety of talent management measures to not only satisfy existing staff, but also attract young peo- ple to work for their company.13 One measure depicts the implementation of inter- national job sites in another country or within an international team. Since the young people from today are surrounded by social media and are able to com- municate internationally, gaining intercultural experiences constitutes a way of presenting lifestyle.14

2.3 Theory of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

The intrinsic motivation states the internal motivation of an individual to approach a certain action due to the personal interest or fun factor.15 Avoiding punishments or receiving rewards does not drive it. On the contrast, extrinsic motivation stands under the influence of external forces, which reinforces the intentions by, for in- stance, rewarding systems. Examples for rewards are money, fame or grades. Ex- trinsic Motivation is based on the principle, that there are two forms of external in- tensification factors: (1) the necessitation and (2) the reward. The necessitation expresses a negative force and motivates the individual in order to avoid negative consequences. Rewards constitute a positiv force and support the individual to in- tensify the endavours to reach a specific goal. If intrinsic and extrinsic motivation appear at the same time, it is expressed by the term of the so-called crowding-out effect. In this case, extrinsic factors do undermine the intrinsic factors.

Table 1: Comparison of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Own Presentation

3 Reflection on the Generation Z

3.1 Change of Generations and „War for Talents“

Age, period and cohort characterize generations. The age determines when life starts, while the period states the events happening in that lifespan. When talking about cohort, literature talks about a group of people who share the same experi- ences and events. Those factors define values and matters for a generation. Throughout history, generations arise and associated therewith the corresponding norms and values. The generation born until 1964 are known as the baby- boomers.16 Due to their designation, this generation is marked by the high birth rate after the World War II when social change allowed a focus on privat life again. The Generation X who holds the birth year up to the early 1980s constitutes the suc- cessor of this group. The term is taken from Douglas Coupland’s novel in 1991 and still posseses validity until today.17 Characteristics of the Generation X are that they are the first to grow up without the direct contact of any wars or social conflicts. But their lifes are marked by less wealth and economic stability because of the World War II aftermath. A leap in time leads to the Generation Y or also known as Milleni- als, who are born from 1980 to 1995. This cohort shares the same experience of being able to use the possibilites of the World Wide Web. According to the Internet, attitudes towards life and work change. Because Millenials do not suffer from war and its aftermath, they are able to focus on life and hence personal aspirations. Personal aspirations, for instance, are education and the right to self- determination.18 Overall progress in technology and medical care does not only affect the young population, but also the older generations. The result is explained by the term of demographic change, which states the ongoing aging of the popula- tion while, at the same time, birth rates show lower figures19. Due to this circum- stance, employers’ emphasis lie on the attracting of young professionals in order to secure the junior staff generation. The „War for Talents“ illustrates the picture of companies competing on the job market for the best educated. Moreover, compa- nies provide measures and preparations for age appropriate working conditions for the experienced existing staff. Providing measures such as medical checks by a company doctor or workshops on health promotion do justice to the changing re- quirements of the different employees.

Figure 1: Timeline - Change of Generations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Own Presentation

3.2 Characteristics of the „Digital Natives“

The current Generation Z, born beginning from 1990, is surrounded by the omni- presence of the Internet and thus social media. Due to a recent „Statista“ survey from August 2016, young people’s private interests such as fashion, music and youtube are directly linked to the Internet.20 Hence, digital natives grow up with the direct influence of Internet technology and are able to utilize them for their own pur- poses.21 This cohort does also share the influence of the demographic change. On the one side, while technology and medical care improve steadily, people are able to have a longer life. On the other side, people are enabled to focus on the fulfill- ment of their private needs and work challenges. Due to that, birth rates show a low rate and the consequences are illustrated by an aging population or society. On that basis, employers struggle to attract young professionals and the digital natives are aware of that. Hence, the current generation finds themselves in a position where they possess the flexibility and liberty to select organizations. This distin- guishes the young from all past generations regarding the job market situation. Due to that fact, the Generation Z is characterized with low loyalty towards employees because of consequences from the talent war.


1 Cf. Statista, Survey Work-life Balance, 2016, w/o p.

2 Cf. Hendler, E. J., Getting Social, 2016, p. 34.

3 Cf. Iorgulescu, M., Perception of Work, 2016, p. 48.

4 Cf. Dupont, S., Millenials, 2015, p. 19.

5 Cf. Banu, R.A., Equation Model, 2016, p. 141.

6 Cf. Roy, G., Communication Technology, 2016, p. 81.

7 Cf. Mercure, J., Demographic Theory, 2015, p. 788.

8 Cf. Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, Demografischer Wandel, 2015, w/o p.

9 Cf. Ng, E. W., Burke, R. J., War for Talent, 2005, p. 1206.

10 Cf. Peetz, D., Allan, C., Flexitime, 2005, p. 160.

11 Cf. Carr, A. E., Li-Ping Tang, T., Employee Motivation, 2005, p. 160.

12 Cf. Bäckström, I., et al., Health Promotion, 2014, p. 1236.

13 Cf. Garr, S. S., Talent Management, 2016, p. 26.

14 Cf. Doster, L., Social Networks, 2013, p. 269.

15 Cf. Dermer, J., Interrelationship, 1975, p. 128.

16 Cf. Wassel, J. I., Cutler, N. E., Boomer Challenge, 2016, p. 61.

17 Cf. Reisenwitz, T. H., Iyer, R., Generation X, 2009, p. 91.

18 Cf. DeVaney, S. A., Millenial Generation, 2015, p. 12.

19 Cf. Bundesministerium des Innern, Demografiepolitik, 2016, w/o p.

20 Cf. Statista, Private Interests, 2016, w/o p.

21 Cf. Jackson, D., Digital Natives, 2015, p. 57.

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Work-Life Balance for the Generation Z Using the Example of the Adidas Group
University of applied sciences, Düsseldorf
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Work-Life-Balance, Adidas, Human Resources, Generation Z, Generation Y, Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation, Digital Natives, War for Talents, Demographic Change
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Cam-Duc Au (Author), 2016, Work-Life Balance for the Generation Z Using the Example of the Adidas Group, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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