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Workplace Preferences

When it comes to interpersonal work relationships, government employees from all generations rank having a boss they can respect (97%) as the most important one. This preference is closely followed by being a part of an organization that effectively communicates with employees to keep them informed (96%). Survey respondents placed the lowest importance on a diverse workforce, although a slight majority (54%) perceived working with co-workers who are different from themselves to be important.

Millennials and Gen Xers are more concerned than baby boomers with having a boss that they respect and with experiencing comradery among co-workers. Members of Generation X also consider teamwork and collaboration to be more important than do older and younger government workers. Millennials perceive effective communication and keeping employees informed to be more important than do Gen Xers and baby boomers. No significant generational differences emerged from employees’ responses to the survey questions related to the perceived importance of having a diverse workforce and a safe work environment.

Government employees were also asked to rate how much they value each interpersonal work relationships on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicated the relationship is not important at all and 5 indicated the relationship is very important. The following chart reports average generational ratings.

When it comes to workforce benefits, public sector employees overall place the greatest importance on: retirement savings plans/pension (98%), health benefits (97%), compensation (97%), job security (95%) and feeling good about the job and the people that they serve (94%).

Public sector employees were also asked to rate how important they feel specific workforce benefits to be on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 indicated the benefits is not important at all and 5 indicated the benefit is very important. The following graph reports average ratings by generation.

Retirement savings plans/pensions, health benefits and compensation were rated as most important by government employees from all generations. Also, there was no variation in the degree of importance members of each generation place on health benefits, retirement savings plan/pensions and feeling good about their job and the people that they serve. While it was rated as being important overall, baby boomers view compensation and job security to be less important than do Gen Xers and millennials. Baby boomers also care much less about benefits that emphasize work-life balance.

After reviewing various aspects of work resources and infrastructure, virtually all employees assigned the greatest importance to having access to resources to do the job (98%).

Public sector employees were also asked to rate the importance they place on particular aspects of work resources and infrastructure on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 indicated the aspect is not important at all and 5 indicated the aspect is very important. The following graph reports average ratings by generation.

A one-way ANOVA of the ratings of aspects of work resources and infrastructure revealed some similarities and differences across generations. As mentioned earlier, having access to resources to do the job was rated important by virtually all employees, and it was rated of equal importance by all three generations. Being able to continually learn while on the job by attending training and conferences is much more important to millennials and Gen X employees. Baby boomers rate the importance of working in an office environment that offers both private spaces and spaces for collaboration much more highly than do younger workers.

When it comes to organizational philosophy, public sector employees overall place the greatest importance on an environment that encourages employees’ input and ideas (96%), recognizing employee contributions (94%) and providing good training opportunities, self-improvement and skills development (91%).

Public sector employees were also asked to rate how important aspects of organizational philosophy are to them on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 indicated the aspect is not important at all and 5 indicated the aspect is very important. The graph below reports their average ratings by generation.

A one-way ANOVA of ratings of the aspects of organizational philosophy revealed some similarities and differences across generations. As mentioned earlier, having an environment that encourages employees’ input and ideas, recognizing employee contributions and providing good training opportunities, self-improvement and skills development were each rated as being important by more than 90% of survey respondents. Among these three most important attributes, the only difference across the generations is in regard to providing good training opportunities. Millennials and Gen Xers are much more apt to rate this attribute as important than are baby boomers. Not surprisingly, merit-based advancement or promotions are rated much more important by millennials and Gen Xers than by baby boomers. Relatedly, an organization where tenure leads to promotions is viewed as being more important by members of Generation X and baby boomers than by millennials.

Retention