The 3 things all workers—even millennials—want from work

Employees—regardless of age or position—are motivated by the same core values at work, according to a recent workforce survey from Facebook.

Career, community, and cause consistently emerge as top motivators for Facebook employees, according to an analysis of the firm's biannual workforce survey results, write three Facebook executives and author Adam Grant in the Harvard Business Review.

The authors define career as work that provides autonomy and emphasizes professional development. Community is about feeling connected to others at work, and cause is about finding purpose in the organization's mission, they add.

In a recent survey, Facebook employees were asked to rate the importance of these three motivators on a scale of one to five. More than 25% of respondents rated all three values as important, and 90% had a tie in importance between at least two of the three.

Even millennials, who have a reputation of wanting different things from work, valued these three priorities similarly to other age groups, the authors write.

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In fact, despite a stereotype that millennials are more mission-driven than other generations, the survey found that younger people cared slightly less about cause and slightly more about career than older professionals. Only employees over the age of 55 rated cause as more important than career and community. 

Researchers also examined differences in attitude between office locations, job functions, and performance reviews and found that people still rated the motivators as similarly important.  

Many organizations only prioritize one of these three core values at work, but employees want more, the authors argue. And when people don't feel fulfilled in these categories, their engagement and performance at work suffers, the authors warn (Goler et al., Harvard Business Review, 2/22).

Also see: The real reason your employees quit

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