A recent study by McDonald’s in the UK found that employees who work with peers of different generations tend to be a bit happier at work, while customer satisfaction seems to improve as well. Jo Faragher outlines the findings at Personnel Today:
In a survey of 32,000 of the restaurant chain’s employees, those who worked with a cross-section of ages showed a 10% increase in happiness levels compared with those who worked with a peer group of similar age. In a comparable poll of customers, 84% said they liked to see a mixture of ages in the restaurant team, with 60% expecting a better service as a result.
McDonald’s research also found that 58% of workers felt it was a priority to have an opportunity to work with people of different ages. This was more important for those born between 1900 and 1964 (a priority for 67%), and 16-year-olds (a priority for 57%). More than two-thirds (70%) of employees who responded to the poll expected to work with people who have different life experiences and views of the world, the research found.
Advocates of age diversity tell the CIPD’s Greg Pitcher that this survey underscores what they already know about the value of keeping senior citizens in the workforce:
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, hopes other employers will recognise the benefits of a multigenerational workforce. She said: “Research backs up the benefits of a more age-diverse workforce and also shows many older workers have no intention of taking it easy and are still looking to progress with their careers.
“At Age UK, we have found how rewarding a diverse workforce of all ages can be and how much younger people benefit from working with older people and vice versa. Employers can really benefit from the fact that more people than ever before are working past the age of 65, by recognising how valuable it can be to utilise the skills and expertise that older as well as younger people bring to the workforce.”
Claire Williams, director of inclusion and diversity at membership body Inclusive Employers, said the UK now had five generations of people in the workforce. “The research is a fantastic example of the business case for age-related inclusion,” she said. “I hope that other employers see the benefits of recruiting an age-diverse workforce”
This is not the first time, incidentally, that McDonald’s UK has studied this question and found the same result. In a similar study commissioned in 2009, the fast food chain discovered that customer satisfaction was around 20 percent higher in restaurants with employees over age 60, while 44 percent of restaurant managers attributed this effect partly to the mentorship they provided to younger employees, exerting a positive influence on their juniors’ performance and maturity.