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Business Services  •  Small Business

Who is the most motivated in your workplace?

By RJP LLP on 20 September, 2017

Money, food, training, development opportunities, company cars…..everyone is different and driven by different needs and interests. If you employ a wide range of people across different age groups in your business, or are thinking about recruiting staff, it is useful to understand how different people approach their work and how people value any benefits you might be offering if you are to get the best out of them.

Whilst there are advantages (and sometimes disadvantages) to having some ‘bright young things’ around, older workers are far more motivated, according to recent research across 2,000 workers aged between 19 and 65. Here's how they varied on the subject of “what motivates your staff”.


Baby boomers – workers aged 51 or more

The UK’s most motivated workers are 51 years old, scoring 7.7/10 in the research study. As a group, they value flexible working and having a job that is both challenging and provides them with opportunities to learn. Financial benefits did not score highly amongst their priorities.


Parents juggling children and a career

Another highly motivated group are working parents, who scored 6.7 (working mothers) and 6.8 (working fathers). They are also driven by flexible working options and having opportunities to learn and be challenged as opposed to traditional employee benefits.


Generation Z - workers aged 20 years old or younger

This group was identified as the ‘least motivated’ in the research study, scoring just 5.9/10

They are more likely to prioritise work/life balance than any other age group and they reported that ‘having a good relationship with their colleagues’ and job security were also important motivators. They are de-motivated by office politics or having to deal with too much red tape.


Flexible working is key

Across all the age groups there were some common themes surrounding what motivates employees and interestingly, none were financially orientated.  Flexible working was the top motivator for everyone at (67%), followed by “interesting and challenging work” (46%) and having decision-making autonomy (44%). This came out at 68% for working mothers as their highest motivator.

At the other end of the spectrum, just 33% mentioned salary and only 24% prioritised financial benefits in kind, such as healthcare or pensions. Just 14% of the survey participants said they were motivated by having a senior position and being in a position of power/authority in their organisations.

Universally across all age groups, poor work life balance was the biggest factor behind low motivation (33%). Other contributing factors cited by the respondents were not having the ability to work from home occasionally (26%), not getting recognition from others for doing a good job and poor team dynamics (21%).


The 'one size fits all' approach doesn't work!

Everyone is an individual and we are all motivated by different things, depending on our own financial and emotional circumstances but what this study illustrates very significantly is that having a ‘one size fits all’ approach to employee engagement is not effective.

If you employ young people in particular, they will be far more interested in work/life balance than financial incentives. Employers need to understand what makes each of their employees tick because in doing so, they are far more likely to win their loyalty and commitment in the long run which translates into greater productivity and a better return on investment.

If you would like assistance with staff retention tools then contact Simon Paterson

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