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Mixed age groups make for happier employees

Research from McDonald’s finds the opportunity to work with people of different ages is a top priority

Employees who work with a range of age groups are generally happier, according to a study conducted by McDonald’s.

In a survey of more than 32,000 McDonald’s UK employees people who work with a cross-section of ages registered a 10% increase in happiness levels compared with those who only work with their peers.

The opportunity to work with people of various ages was the top priority for more than half (58%) of employees. This was most important for those born between 1900 and 1964 (with 67% selecting it), as well as 16-year-olds (57%). Seven in 10 (70%) people across the generations expected to work with colleagues with different life experiences and views.

Out of a sample of 1,000 McDonald’s customers the majority (84%) said they like to see a mix of ages in the restaurant team, and most (60%) expected better service as a result. Of those who experienced a difference as a reult of age difference (36%), the majority (89%) preferred the experience. Just under half (44%) said it created a good restaurant atmosphere.

Claire Hall, chief people officer for McDonald’s UK, told HR magazine that both older and younger staff value working with people of different ages. “The younger people benefit from the experience of their older colleagues, while the older employees like to pass their knowledge on,” she said. “Older people enjoy having their younger colleagues teach them about technology. They have said that it helps them to stay young themselves.

“As these insights show, teams that bring together a mix of people of different ages and at different life stages are fundamental to creating a happy and motivated workplace and to delivering a great customer experience,” she added. “The age range of our people now spans an incredible 75 years. Diverse and committed restaurant teams will remain at the heart of our business and I hope other employers will recognise the benefits.”