It may not be news or obvious, but happiness makes people more active, research has shown. People who are happy have proven that being loyal, productive, and loyal is good for business.
Increasing awareness of this fact has fueled an increase in research exploring the impact of workplace culture on people’s well-being.
And it didn’t take long for companies like Google and Spotify to increase their investment in employee support, appointing Chief Happiness Officers (CHO) to do so.
But what does happiness look like at work? Maybe more holidays, better clinics or mental health support? Is it the ability to work remotely often, or is it given more opportunities for personal development?
A new study has concluded that it is about generation, with some groups having a harder time being satisfied than others.
What makes an employee happy at work?
Dr. Katherine Chia, an American psychologist at Cangrade, a talent management company, believes that the best way to determine what drives job satisfaction is to ask employees directly.
In a recent study, he surveyed over 600 members of each generation who were exposed to the workforce to learn how they answered the question “In general, how satisfied are you at work?” “
Chia also asked participants to rate their current workplace experience and respond to statements such as “my workplace cares about me” or “I am proud of the work I do”. .
Then he and his team dug into the different levels of happiness at work, looked at the attitudes of different generations and published the results in a study called “Happiness at Work in 2023, and Study on Generation happiness”.
Happiness, a generational dilemma
Although the exact years that define each generation may vary according to the researcher, it is generally accepted that there are four groups that are overrepresented in today’s workplace: Baby Boomers (roughly 1955-1964) Gen X (from 1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996) and Gen Z (1997-2012).
Each generation has different values, which is the source of conflict and unhappiness, according to the report. For example, a Baby Boomer management style may not meet the needs or wants of a Gen Z employee.
What are the Happiness at Work research findings?
Chia’s team found that all generations report similar levels of workplace satisfaction, with one difference: Gen Z appears to be least satisfied.
Gen X is the least satisfied generation at work, reporting a 5.5 level of satisfaction on a scale from one to seven. They are followed by Baby Boomers (5.47), Millennials (5.41) and Gen Z, who are the least satisfied (4.76).
Interestingly, Gen Z also proved to be the happiest of the generations surveyed, with all other generations reporting to be equally happy at work.
What is the difference between happy and satisfied? Happiness at work is about being happy while doing the work, but happiness at work is how satisfied we feel after doing the work.
Gen X and Millenials expect similar levels of happiness, and Baby Boomers aren’t far behind.
Only 9 percent of Baby Boomers reported being unhappy at work, compared to 69 percent who said so.
Among Gen X and Millennials respondents, 13 percent of both groups were dissatisfied versus 76 percent satisfied. Gen Z are the least satisfied (26 percent compared to 59 percent who are satisfied).
Gen Z’s happiness at work may be different. But that’s just one reason because “Gen Z is happier than any other generation,” the report concluded.
of the Mental Health Million Project He supports this theory, which has recently shown that Gen Z has a low education level, possibly due to the great problem of education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another “knowable” factor, according to the Happiness at Work report, is that Gen Z is entering the workforce and taking on more responsibilities. This, he says, can be frustrating, especially for a technical worker who is largely defined by the rapid learning style.
But what makes each generation happy at work?
For Baby Boomers, the most important thing at work is “having their voice heard,” the report says, which is linked to their “strong sense of entrepreneurship.”
For Baby Boomers, 50 percent agreed with the statement “I want to tell people what I do for a living,” Chia said, reflecting the generation’s work-centric mindset.
Baby Boomers also “value having their voices heard in the workplace, above and beyond other benefits that younger generations value, such as working hours easy or free time.”
Gen X and Millennials share the same workplace priorities: self-direction and independence.
But Gen X is “more nuanced” and they are similar to Baby Boomers in that they put more emphasis on their work experience.
Millennials are “deeply mission-driven in their careers,” looking for opportunities where they can “give back” or have a higher purpose.
The sentiment most closely associated with workplace satisfaction for the generation is “I’m proud of the work I do”.
Gen Z’s workplace happiness is highly correlated with the statement, “My workplace brings out the best in me”. Generation creates learning and professional development opportunities in their jobs.
Associated with satisfying work experiences, Gen Z has also shown the generation to leave their jobs if they are unhappy with their workplace, the report found.
According to the Happiness at Work report, fostering awareness and collaboration is critical for organizations to thrive in today’s workforce. And instead of seeing generational differences as a challenge, employers should view them as an opportunity to foster business growth.