Employees as a human resource are one of the key success factor for companies and the main competitive advantage nowadays. One of the main challenge is to understand how to get the best out of this valuable resource. Employers and researchers have been focusing on this complicated task for centuries and still did not find the golden recipe. There are enormous number of factors that have an impact on employee performance and motivation, those are – political and economic situation in the country, legislation restrictions, technological progress, social and environmental factors. Even within the social factor motivation can be analyzed through the prism of gender, educational level, age, work experience, level of employment in the country, position level and etc. Therefore, in this work we will give a brief overview of the main motivation theories and will narrow the analysis to how the following social factors – generations, globalization and culture; influence the employee motivation.One of the primary task facing a manager is motivating employees to perform to the best of their ability (Moorhead and Griffin, 1998). Actually, motivation has been described as “one of the most pivotal concerns of modern organizational research” (Baron, 1991: 1). Pinder (1998) describes motivation as the set of internal and external forces that initiate work-related behavior, and determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration. Work-related behavior is affected by both environmental forces (e.g., organizational structure, reward systems, the nature of the work being performed) and forces intrinsic to the person (e.g., individual needs and motives). However, it is hard to conduct studies on motivation as it is a broad concept and it is impossible to measure it directly. Hence, we have to rely on the existing theories to find our way to the most effective motivators taking into consideration the specific conditions within which our company operates.Human Resources managers are constantly working to combine and incorporate these numerous theories into each day practice by creating multiple motivation schemes for employees. With each year, it becomes more and more challenging as the work environment has high level of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA environment). Classical motivation theories can be divided by content and process approaches. Content theories focus on WHAT motivates people. Examples of content theories include Achievement Theory (McClelland), Two-factor Theory (Herzberg), Hierarchy of Needs Theory (Maslow). Process theories, in contrast, concentrate on HOW people are motivated, the connection of effort with outcomes or reward. Represented by Goal-setting Theory (Locke), Equity Theory (Adams), Expectancy Theory (Vroom), Job Characteristic Theory (Hackman and Oldham), Reinforcement Theory (Skinner). It is worth to say that these theories are complementary to each other. There are a lot of recent researches as, for example, the comprehensive motivation theory by Lawrence and Nohria (2002) that incorporate many researches fields.Globalization of business activities brings different cultures together into one company. The managers have to find the way to motivate their subordinates even when they work all over the world. The rapid development of technology of course helps but this is not enough. This has to be taken into consideration when we educate our leaders and of course while introducing incentives for employees. Today four generations meet together in the same workplace. This is especially due to increased pension age and workforce scarcity. So, it is extremely complicated to apply the Adam’s Equity and justice theory. It examines how employees perform when they can compare themselves with their peer group. Researches learned that underpaid employees had decrease in their performance (Greenberg, 1982). Inequity comparisons result in a state of dissonance or tension that motivates an employee to engage in behavior designed to relieve tension (e.g. raise or lower work efforts to re-establish equity, leave the situation that is causing inequity) (Lee and Raschke, 2016). Younger generations in general are more technologically and educationally advanced compared to older generations though the last possess larger experience. This could cause a problem in employees’ perception of the amount and quality of work they provide, which in turn might cause them in seeing disparity as to how fairly they are treated. Consequently, it is a great challenge for the organization leaders to support the multicultural environment that manages multi-generational differences with their values and perceptions. Going back to Mannheim’s sociology of generations people are grouped into cohorts based on the experiencing the same significant social and historical events within a given period of time. Many researchers advocate the close attention to the multi-generational workforce including their stereotypical behaviors (Salopek, 2000; Tulgan 2004).Going deeper into characteristics of generations that are the current workforce brings us to the necessity to pay attention to different approaches to psychological contract, desirable leadership styles, different personal values and perceptions of how they see the world. All these points can bring conflict into the organization if not treated the right way. Indeed Salopek (2000) argues that organizations that create environments which are value-based and support divergent views and values of each of the cohorts create a positive outcome for both the organization and its employees.We are going to analyze the main characteristics and main motives of behaviors of each generation.Veterans (born prior to 1946) represent very small percentage of the current workforce. They are strongly influenced by the World War II. They are patriotic, loyal, conservative, value stability and commitment. Seeking for the long-term job security, they are loyal to the organizations and their leaders.Baby boomers (1946 – 1964) were influenced by after war recovery and cold war. According to Gursoy, et al. (2013) although they work hard and believe their work defines them, they tend to work for their own recognition or development rather than to improve the company. They could be described as optimistic workaholics, who value the health and well-being, and are value oriented. To motivate above-mentioned older generations one might refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943) which defines five steps of employee’s needs: physiological, safety, social, ego, and self-actualization. His model works in linear way – in order to be able to satisfy a need above, the need below should be satisfied. Though a lot of pension age people are forced to work due to their financial situation, the level of their physiological needs is rather modest in comparison to demand of recognition and self-realization.Generation X (1965 – 1979) (Al-Asfour and Lettau, 2014) makes the second biggest generation in the workforce. Lewis and Wescott (2017) describe them as the first generation to enter the workforce after corporate downsizing and grew up as latchkey kids with both parents working or divorced. Xers grew up at the beginning of the so called “Information age” and experiencing social, economic and political upheavals (Gursoy et al., 2008). They are skeptical, independent, entrepreneurial, seeking for constant feedback, and autonomy. However, Xers lack employer loyalty and will use the opportunity to challenge the hierarchical decision-making structure. If they are not satisfied with the job they easily change it. As one of the approaches to motive Xers is to embrace the Goal setting theory (Locker, 1996). It says that setting the specific difficult goals to employees lead to their better performance. Goal setting is especially effective when feedback is provided that permits the individual to track the progress relative to the goal (Ambrose and Kulik, 1999). Using this approach will allow to create the strong employees’ engagement and commitment by satisfing their core needs in autonomy and feedback. Generation Y – Millennials – are the children of Baby Boomers (1980 – 2000) (Al-Asfour and Lettau, 2014). According to Smola and Sutton (2002) they are the first generation to be born into a technologically based world. They were bombarded with various information through all types of media, have experienced the job loss in their families, spread of terrorism. Whereas they grew up with a focus on family and had relatively scheduled and structured lives, at this point, Dawn (2004) suggests that Millennials are looking for challenges and learning opportunities in their lives. In addition, industry experts have suggested that Yers value work-life balance. Following Bersin by Deloitte research on Millennials 2016, two-thirds of them state their organization’s “purpose” is the reason they choose an employer.This shows that the Yers are not motivated as much by money as they are by the comfort and numerous other non-material rewards. In this case it is worth to address to the Motivation-hygiene theory (Herzberg, 1966) which categorizes motivation into: motivators – as intrinsic factor and hygiene – as extrinsic factor. Intrinsic factors such as achievements and recognition provide the employee job satisfaction while extrinsic factors such as compensation and job security give job dissatisfaction. In other words, if managers want to motivate employees and have them interested in their jobs they should not use the money (for sure, in case when the basic payment is at appropriate level). Most important, managers will increase employee intrinsic motivation and long-term job satisfaction by providing psychological growth opportunities (Sachau, 2007). For example the Survey conducted by Lewis and Wescott (2017) shows that the most important job satisfaction factor for Y-er is “having things well explained”, which shows a clear step-away from the pure materialistic source of motivation to development.No one should entertain the illusion that people will work for free but according to Cognitive evaluation theory (Deci, 1971) money is not a motivator, on the contrary – money can demotivate. Deci defines two motivational subsystems – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsically motivated individuals attribute the cause of their behavior to internal needs and perform behaviors for intrinsic reward and satisfaction (Ambrose and Kulik, 1999). Furthermore, promoting the culture of payments and focusing employees on job security brings the companies to escalating expectations and hence constant increase of HR costs. Summarizing the abovementioned, we see that the workforce is changing drastically. Based on Tulgan’s (2004) study employees tend to incentives which contribute towards better morale, higher productivity levels and retention of employees. The average duration of employment has decreased in the recent years as well. To ensure long-term organizational success while creating the motivators for desirable performance our leaders have to take into account not only the generation differences but globalization and culture differences as well.As from the nineties with increased internationalization of businesses more and more researches appeared on cross-cultural particularities of motivation drivers. Some countries are more individualistic in goal achievements as the USA; China employees are shown to be more motivated by team goals. Yamauchi and Li (1993) found out the Chinese students reported stronger motives and attitudes toward achievement than the Japanese, whereas Japanese students reported stronger work ethic. Frese et al. (1996) revealed lower personal initiative in East Germany than in West Germany. Niles (1994) reported that Sri Lankans have scored less the work ethics as a need for mastery than Australians. The study of Dubinsky et al. (1994) examined the effect of culture on Expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) perceptions. It suggests that motivation is a multiplicative function of three constructs: expectancy, instrumentality and valence. It is based on the belief that employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards (Lee and Raschke, 2016) – negative or positive. The higher the reward, the more motivational effect it has on employee. As the result, the U.S. salespersons were more dependent on the extrinsic motivation instruments as pay increases and job security than Korean and Japanese samples. It appears that Deci’s Cognitive evaluation theory is more useful in Asiatic cultures than in the USA. All these differences in beliefs, values, pay practices reflect the cultural differences in finding the way in uncertainly avoidance and individualism (Penning, 1993). Overall, the variety of studies illustrating significant differences amongst different ethnical groups and nationalities, are reflection of the still present enormous difference amongst those groups. Despite the effect of globalization and change of generations, each nation retains a certain set of traditions and practices. All of those theories illustrate strong attempts to theorize the employee motivation system. However, the main limitation to all of the theories used, is that overall none of them so far, has managed to cover all the social factors but gravitate to particular motivators. But undoubtedly they do evolve together with the change of generations and their basic values.To summarize, it is very important to perform regularly surveys to get feedback to adapt our strategies to VUCA influenced business surrounding. But the crucial is to constantly educate our employees and particularly our leaders on how to manage the cultural and generation diversity and thus create the culture of fun, collaboration and creativity.