According to a new study by Leadership IQ, the youngest workers are the least satisfied. Only 30% of workers ages 21-30 would strongly recommend their organization as a good place to work.
By contrast, 47% of workers ages 61-70 would strongly recommend their organization as a good place to work, making them the most satisfied age group.
Leadership IQ, compiled these results after surveying a random sample of 11,244 employees ages 21-70 from 872 public, private, business and healthcare organizations. Respondents were asked 24 questions about their direct boss, corporate culture, and professional motivation.
“Age is positively correlated to workplace satisfaction, so the older you are, the more likely you are to have a high opinion of your company” says Mark Murphy, Chairman & CEO of Leadership IQ. “And a big cause of this seems to be that each age group is motivated very differently.”
This study discovered that the biggest statistical driver of workplace satisfaction for workers between the ages of 21-30 is whether their boss recognizes and praises their accomplishments.
However, this study also found that these younger workers do not feel they are getting nearly enough praise and recognition. Only 39% of these younger workers Agree or Strongly Agree that their boss does a good job of recognizing and praising their accomplishments.
“It’s become a cliché to bemoan younger workers’ need for praise and recognition,” says Murphy. “But what’s disturbing is that 6 out of 10 younger workers are being actively demotivated because their boss won’t give them the one thing they really care about. And these results are especially disappointing because praise and recognition don’t really cost anything.”
By contrast, this study found that the biggest statistical driver of workplace satisfaction for workers between the ages of 61-70 is whether they can assess if their performance is where it should be.
“Younger workers want praise and older workers want clear measures of their performance,” adds Murphy. “And what’s clear from this study is that managers are doing a better job with their older workers than with their younger workers. Managers cannot use one management style and expect success, because every age group is motivated very differently.”
Murphy concludes “Given the low satisfaction scores for younger workers, this is clearly going to require a big mental shift for most managers. But these skills can be taught, and frankly, there isn’t much choice if an organization wants to attract and keep younger workers. Also, if you properly motivate these younger folks, they are just as productive as any other group of workers. So the potential return on investment is significant.”