Why office perks don’t work in a multi-generational workforce

As employees work longer on into retirement age and millennials enter the workplace,  UK businesses now face the persistent challenge of how to keep three different generations, with different wants and needs, engaged and motivated at work.  Benefits and office perks is one area where the impact on different generations is most keenly felt.


New research from HR software and employment law advice company, BrightHR, has revealed major generational differences in how staff respond to ‘office perks’:

  • 45 per cent of 16-25 year olds 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
  • 79 per cent of millennials said rewards would make them more loyal to their employer

When it comes to keeping staff motivated, the research proves that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to benefits and perks will not work in a modern office, which is typically made up of millennials, gen x and baby boomers.  More mature workers, it appears, are simply not as interested in or motivated by rewards and perks, which are classed as anything outside of salary.

That is something to bear in mind because the workplace has never been so diverse in terms of age.  The latest Labour Market Statistics show that most of the UK’s 25 million workers is in the 35-49 age group – around 10.7 million, with eight million workers in the 50-64 category.

Whilst much of industry is focused on ‘attracting millenials with benefits to keep them happy’, younger employees, aged 25 to 35 years, indeed placed the highest value on perks and rewards. However,  only 22 per cent of 55-60 year olds receive perks and in any case, the research found workers aged 45-55 years of age are primarily financially driven, with 29 per cent admitting they would be most interested in financial bonuses rather than perks like company cars, 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.”

Author: Editor

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