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Future of Work

When it comes to employee motivation, a one size fits all approach does not work in today’s modern office, made up of millennials, gen x and baby boomers.

As employees work longer on into retirement age and millennials enter the workplace, bosses in the UK face the persistent challenge of how to keep three different generations, with different wants and needs, happy at work.

In terms of age groups, the workplace has never been more mixed. According to the latest Labour Market Statistics, the largest proportion of the UK’s 25 million workers is in the 35-49 age group – around 10.7 million, followed by the eight million workers in the 50-64 category.

So how are these different generations receiving and being influenced by office perks? New research from HR software and employment law advice company, BrightHR, showed that 45 per cent of 16-25 year olds do receive rewards, compared to only 22 per cent of 55-60 year olds.

The research suggests that this disparity reflects the different attitudes towards rewards across the generations, as older people surveyed are simply not as interested in or motivated by rewards and perks, which are classed as anything outside of salary.

Only 50 per cent of 55-60 year olds said they would work harder if they were offered more out of salary rewards, compared to 75 per cent of 16-25 year olds. 20 per cent of 55-60 year olds even went as far as to say they wouldn’t want to be offered rewards.

79 per cent of millennials reported that rewards would make them more loyal to the business, compared to just over half of the older age bracket (57 per cent).

Younger employees, aged 25 to 35 years, placed the highest value on perks and rewards than any other working age group.

When it comes to choosing a job, 80 per cent of 16-25 year olds rated company perks as very or moderately important.

45-55 year olds are the most financially driven, with 29 per cent admitting they would be most interested in financial bonuses rather than alternatives such as a company car, training or staff parties.

BrightHR Co-Founder and CEO, Paul Tooth, said: “The findings show that bosses in the UK have their work cut out making sure they have a team of fulfilled individuals, when the different generations have such contrasting motivations.

“Millennials expect to work longer hours, and they want more from work as a result. For the baby boomer or generation X this could be would be very daunting environment to be starting a new role, surrounded by younger peers who accept longer hours.

“The different generations offer a diverse range of skills which, when nurtured and well managed, can be very complimentary and form a strong team. When it comes to rewarding a multi-generational team, a bespoke approach is best. Businesses should offer employees a choice of rewards.

Allowing teams to choose personalised rewards shows that their management are listening to their needs.”

Key points again

• New research reveals dramatic generational differences in ‘perks’ culture in the workplace

• 45 per cent of 16-25 year olds do receive out of salary rewards, compared to only 22 per cent of 55-60 year olds

• Only 50 per cent of 55-60 years olds said they would work harder given office perks, while 79 per cent of millennials said rewards would make them more loyal to their employer

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