Generations differ on what makes them happy at work but agree on flexibility

Generations differ on what makes them happy at work but all want more flexibilityA new survey into happiness at work suggests it is viewed differently according to age. Baby boomers: aspire to have job security and think careers are defined by employers. Gen X: aspire to have a work-life balance and although are loyal to a profession will not necessarily stick with the same employer. Millennials or Gen Y aspire to have freedom and flexibility and are digital entrepreneurs while Gen Z aspire to have security and stability. The report by Instant Offices’ considered what is important to each age group, and how employers approach the age gap. It found that eight in 10 millennials look for a manager to act as a mentor or coach; Baby boomers want a boss to be ethical, fair and consistent, while 61 percent of Generation X, and 55 percent of millennials, think team consensus is important. However, despite their differences and thoughts about the workplace there are some similarities between the working generations, including more opportunities for flexible working, and feeling appreciated for their efforts.

What the generations have in common

  • Flexible schedules and flexible working – Around 74 percent of millennials, and 94 percent of baby boomers, want a flexible schedule that works for them. The popularity of the ‘standard’ 9-5 appears to be on the decline as it looks as if most employees are interested in flexible hours and telecommuting. In addition, hot-desking and shared spaces appeal more to millennials than rows of desks and fixed computers, which baby boomers would be more used to.
  • Making an impact – Gen Y employees are willing to stay at a company that shows appreciation for their work. Millennials, gen X and baby boomers all aspire to make an impact within an organisation, as well as be recognised for their work. Managers should, therefore, start actively empowering and encouraging employees of all generations to succeed.
  • Motivation – The common thread that ties all employees together when it comes to company loyalty and motivation is simple – appreciation. When it comes to employee tenure, companies with a strong recognition programme have a lower staff turnover. While many employees prefer value, recognition and appreciation over an annual bonus or any other company perk, a simple ‘thank you’ can be the best motivator of all. A recent survey has also found millennials prioritise businesses who have a double bottom line, with 74 percent admitting they want the values of the business to match their own.

Where millennials thrive against other generations

Having grown up with the internet, it’s no secret that Gen Y and Z are digitally native. Where their older counterparts may fall short to grasp all digital changes, seven in 10 managers feel these younger generations are equipped with the skills the older generations are not. In fact, 40 percent of employers admit to relying on younger employees and graduates for their digital skills.

According to research 40 percent of employers admit to relying on younger employees and graduates for their digital and tech skills instead of training mid to senior employees. Given the right opportunity and with the proper guidance, the digitally skilled youth of the country, could potentially provide a solution to organisations struggling to upskill their workforce to compete in the digital age.

This is particularly relevant when you consider it’s predicted that by 2020 the global workforce would be dominated by millennials (35 percent) and generation X (35 percent), with baby boomers only making up 6 percent

For business owners navigating this gap in the workplace, recruiting talent is one challenge. The other is successful employee management and retention

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