If you're having some doubts as to whether that irreplaceable 20-something direct report is satisfied with his job, then walk over to his desk, look him in the eye and say, "I think you're doing a great job!"
Judging from the results of a recent survey from Leadership IQ, a Washington-based training and research firm, it might not be a bad idea.
The survey, which queried 11,244 employees, found that only 30 percent of workers ages 21 to 30 would strongly recommend their organizations as a good place to work, while 47 percent of workers ages 61 to 70 would do so.
Why the discrepancy? Younger workers are more dependent on praise and recognition than their older counterparts, says Leadership IQ CEO Mark Murphy, yet most of them say they're getting little if any from their supervisors.
"It's become a cliche to bemoan younger workers' need for praise and recognition, but what's disturbing is that six out of 10 younger workers are being actively 'demotivated' because their boss won't give them the one thing they really care about," he says.
"Managers cannot use one management style and expect success, because every age group is motivated very differently."