Ron constantly complained about the workload. He was always telling his co-workers that he was so busy he was not sure when he would be able to get to the project they want. Week after week a new challenge was introduced.

HOW TO BE HAPPY AT WORKCan you relate? Have you ever noticed that the person that is usually the busiest in the office is the one who never complains and just keeps trudging the path? And the one who complains the most is never as busy as they like to think they are?

That brings me to this question. What makes you happy? And let’s keep this at work for now. Is it feeling valued? Or maybe it is the supportive environment you work in?

On the other hand, how important is the leadership in your organization? What about feeling like you are part of the collaborative effort to team success?


These are just some of the factors that Ranstad’s 2006 employee review researched. They found what made employees happy. There are variances by generation which makes for interesting leading of teams. For example 21% of Generation Y employees felt that collective commitment to objective made them happy while 34% of baby boomers felt this way. Pathways to personal growth showed that 29% of the mature generation felt it made them happy and a whopping 58% of Generation Y and 52% of Generation X felt this was important to making them happy.

So what does this mean to leaders of today? We are facing a very unique time in our history. For the next few years we will actually have four very different generations in the workforce at the same time.

Why not have some fun in your organization? Go ahead and create your groups “Happiness Survey.” All you need to do is break down the employees by generation and have them rank their top five choices using a scoring system of 5 as most important to 1 as the least. Remind them this is how important each is to their happiness and not to how well it is accomplished.

Here are a few you may want to use:

  • Feeling Valued
  • Recognition an appreciation
  • Shared vision
  • Feeling like part of a team
  • Leadership I can relate to
  • Pathways to personal growth
  • Fitting into the culture
  • Capable co-workers
  • Supportive environment
  • Having friends at work

Does this mean that the different generations need to be lead differently? Quite frankly, to some degree, the answer is yes. Diversity training will soon include age diversity for the simple fact that different generations respond positively to different motivators.

When Kyle met Donna’s 12-year old daughter, Ashley, a few months ago he asked her about how many friends she emails regularly. Ashley responded by saying she hates email because it is too slow. Ashley prefers to text message. So imagine what it will be like as Ashley gets into the workforce in another few years. Baby Boomers better be learning how to send text messages or they may be out of the loop with the work force. Now on the flip side Generation Y employees will need to learn how to communicate with Boomers and Generation X if they want to advance in an established organization.

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