Ladies and gentlemen, for your enjoyment: Various generational stereotypes. Baby Boomers are optimistic, ambitious, and workaholic team players. Generation Xers are skeptical, risk-taking, and self-reliant folks looking for work/life balance. Millennials are hopeful, tech-savvy, and value diversity and meaningful work. Could you imagine all these “types” under the same workplace roof? Actually, what each group values in a great workplace may be more common than you might think.
The Great Place to Work Institute has conducted a research report on what inter-generational employees are looking for in a great workplace. The report is rather surprising, perhaps because we frequently hear about the differences in work ethic and values across the generational spectrum. This report finds there are numerous similarities across generations.
What Makes a Great Workplace Across Generations
Several of the report’s findings show remarkable consistency. Perhaps the elements that make a great workplace address human needs instead of generational needs.
The Top Seven Factors That Create a Great Place to Work
- I’m proud to tell others I work here
Millennials: 18.4x GenX: 17x Baby Boomers: 39.2x
- A friendly place to work
Millennials: 10x GenX: 7.7x Baby Boomers: 8.6x
- A fun place to work
Millennials: 8.5x GenX: 10.6x Baby Boomers: 7.9x
- Honest and ethical management
Millennials: 7.8x GenX: 8.7x Baby Boomers: 9.1x
- People look forward to coming to work
Millennials: 7.6x GenX: 8.5x Baby Boomers: 8.4x
- I feel pride in our accomplishments
Millennials: 6.4x GenX: 7.3x Baby Boomers: 12.3x
- Newcomers feel welcome
Millennials: 6.4x GenX: 7.6x Baby Boomers: 12x
The larger the number above, the stronger the generational group believes each factor contributes to a great workplace. As an example, if their job is “A Friendly Place to Work,” Millennials will be 10 times more likely to consider their workplace a great place to work. These seven characteristics were in the top seven for each generation.
This report also called into question some of the most familiar myths or stereotypes in each of the three generations surveyed.
Millennials: Job Hoppers?
Gallup research provided some findings that support Millennials’ job-hopping tendencies:
- Millennials most likely generation to switch jobs.
- Six in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities.
- Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace.
The Great Place to Work report indicates that Millennials who believe their place of work has a great culture are 25 times more likely to want to stay their long-term.
Gen X: Total Cynics
When Gen X entered the workforce amid economic disruptions and crises, they developed skepticism and decreased employer loyalty.
The Great Place to Work report indicates that Gen Xers are seven times more likely to look forward to work when they believe it has special meaning.
Baby Boomers: People Who Need the Corner Office
One common stereotype of Baby Boomers is they are motivated by position, perks, and prestige, which appear to be external rewards on the face of it.
The Great Place to Work report indicates that corporate pride is a stronger determinant for a great workplace than benefits or rewards.
What’s the Common Variable
People can forever debate the validity of generational stereotypes and the workplace evaluations that help create them. However, one thing seems worthy of our consideration: Regardless of your age, regardless of your potential tendencies to exhibit your generation’s stereotypes, a great workplace likely has the ability to cross all lines of demarcation and prove that all people search for the same thing at work. What is that thing? A friendly, fun, ethical workplace where people are proud to work, where they believe they are making a difference.
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