Each Monday morning America’s workforce faces the same question, “How was your weekend, what did you do?” Thinking back to most recent Mondays, we typically find ourselves recalling experiences – a bike ride with friends, a concert, instead of buying that new shirt or fancy dinner. Unless that shirt was on sale – but that’s another day and blog post about the love of bargain hunting!
With the rise of Millennials and Gen Y population groups, our Western culture has begun to place a negative connotation on materialism, causing us to often rearrange our shared thoughts. In fact, 72% of Millennials say they would rather spend their money on experiences (Harris Research Group, 2015). Yet, the true question still lies, does it make you happier to Do or to Have?
Thomas Gilovich and Leaf Van Boven challenged this concept in their research titled “To Do or To Have? That is the Question,” published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2003. The scientists conducted two surveys and laboratory experiments to clarify if experiences actually do make people happier than material possessions. Their finding? Despite age, ethnicity, gender, and other demographic categories,respondents were substantially more likely to report that their experiential purchases made them happier than their material purchases (57%, 95% confidence interval 54%– 60%) than they were to report that their material purchases made them happier than their experiential purchases (34%, 95% confidence interval 31%–37%).
So the next time you have money burning a hole in your wallet, spend it on an experience. Get that scuba certification that you’ve always wanted, take a pottery class, or go skydiving with a friend. As a People Manager, your employees also deserve to Do. With our employee rewards, we empower companies to give the gift of experiences for a job well done.