Purpose: The purpose of this study is to gain more understanding of how competence might matter from the perspective of well-being at work. The authors explore how perceived competence is connected to perceived work-related well-being among Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y employees.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors explore how perceived competence is connected to perceived work-related well-being among Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y employees. The frames of reference of the study are based on literature on employee well-being (measured with work engagement and overcommitment) and competence, as well as on generational discussions. The quantitative, questionnaire-based study was conducted in 88 companies in Finland, with the total number of respondents being 4,418. Findings: The main finding was that perceived competence related to current duties is statistically significantly connected to employee well-being. The results indicate that high competence results in high employee well-being in all generational groups. Further, Generation Y estimated their work well-being, both in terms of work engagement and overcommitment, lower than Baby Boomers or Generation X. The results suggest that developing competence of employees in organizations seems to be an important means to also support work well-being. It is especially important to pay attention to that among Generation Y, who take their first steps in working life. Competence is a meaningful factor for coping in working life in continually changing work environments. Incompetence is not just a factor for poor performance but also a potential threat to employee well-being.
Originality/value: Most of the competence/workplace learning results research concentrates on cognitive competence and skills, often from the employers’ benefit viewpoint (useful skills, productivity increase). This study starts from the finding that new generations of workers rather look for a meaningful work life, and thus, a feeling of having the necessary competences directly improves their well-being and, thus, life quality. Furthermore, the study is based on an original questionnaire-based study conducted in 88 companies in Finland, with the total number of respondents being 4,418.
- 512 Business and Management
- Employee well-being