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Survey finds younger workers want more feedback, access to managers

When it comes to the workplace, younger employees crave more feedback, access to managers and social interaction than their older counterparts, according to a new survey by Hudson of more than 2,000 U.S. workers. For this survey, Hudson defined Traditionalists as workers born 1928- 1945, Baby Boomers born 1946-1964, Generation X born 1965-1979 and Generation Y born after 1980.

Feedback. Beyond formal reviews, one-quarter (24 percent) of both Generation X and Y workers said they would like feedback from their boss at least once a week, if not every day. Comparatively, only one-fifth of Baby Boomers want feedback that frequently, and just 11 percent of Traditionalists would like that level of communication.

Access to managers. Younger workers were also more eager to have access to managers--their own as well as senior management--than older workers. Half of Gen X (48 percent) and Gen Y (55 percent) consider it to be very or somewhat important to work in the same office as their boss. However, that figure was 44 percent and 41 percent for Baby Boomers and Traditionalists, respectively.

When asked how important direct access to senior management was to them, 69 percent of Traditionalists state it is very or somewhat important. That figure jumps to 81 percent for Generation Y. Baby Boomers and Generation X were in the middle, with 76 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

"The challenge for employers is to first understand the differences within their workforce and then come up with strategies and processes to attract, engage and retain top talent that make the most sense for their business," said Robert Morgan, chief operating officer of Talent Management, Hudson North America. "Most importantly, they need to understand what motivates the talent in their organization, because nothing is black and white, especially when dealing with employees. It's all shades of gray."

Social interaction. On top of everything else, Generation Y employees also prefer more frequent social interaction with their managers. One-quarter (26 percent) would like to socialize with their boss at least monthly. This is compared to 21 percent for Generation X, 16 percent for Baby Boomers and 17 percent for Traditionalists.

Means of communicating. Overwhelmingly, workers of all ages agree that in-person communication is the best means to connect with co-workers. However, not surprisingly, younger generations are more open to email and instant messaging than Boomers and Traditionalists.

For additional information on this and other HR topics, consult CCH Human Resources Management or Personnel Practices/Communications.

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