There has been a library full of articles and books written over the past five years regarding the wants and needs of millennials. While some of it is true, it’s a bit oversimplified to think many of these are only true of one age group. Here are four things most employees want whether they are 30 or 60.
It’s not just millennials who want opportunity. Every worker does. A 60-year-old wants to know they have a valued and meaningful place on the team just as much as 30-year-old. While the runway ahead may be shorter, many still want the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the organization and not be considered “coasting.”
Talking about flexibility as though it is only younger members who want it is foolish. Most employees want some flexibility regardless of their age. They may want it for different uses, but they all still want it. A younger person may want it to go hiking in Europe or play on a soccer team. An older person may want it to do the same things but more likely to do things like visit adult children and grandchildren or help an aging parent. Flexibility is not an age issue – it’s a basic human desire.
Employees want a work environment that is safe – and I don’t only mean free of physical injury. A 25-year-old, a 40-year-old, and a 55-year-old all do not want a work culture that is toxic with verbal attacks, bullying, and unhealthy and undermining gossip. Healthy people want a healthy environment – one that, even in the midst of the stress that comes with many jobs today, is filled with trustworthy friends, positive interactions, and fun.
It has often been said, “Employees don’t leave a job; they leave a supervisor.” Even though compensation is seldom the main reason people leave a job, it does not mean it is not important. And this is true for all ages, not just those that are younger members of the team. Compensation is not only about paying bills, it is also viewed as a statement of how much a person is valued by the organization. Don’t underestimate its importance in attracting and retaining top team members.
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.