The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index involving 115,000 U.S. adults -- including 8,000 who identified themselves as federal workers -- was conducted Jan. 2-Dec. 30, 2012.
About 85 percent of full-time federal government workers age 18-29 said they get to use their strengths at work every day to do what they do best -- versus 77 percent of federal workers age 65 and older.
For other U.S. workers, 82 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they use their strengths in their work compared with 86 percent of those age 65 and older, the survey said.
The federal government could do more to help its older workers use their strengths at work, Gallup said. It could structure positions and train supervisors to get the most out of their employees by discovering and maximizing their employees' strengths, the polling firm suggested.
Gallup research has shown that if a supervisor focuses on employees' strengths, only 1 percent of employees are actively disengaged at work. Otherwise, if a manager focuses on weaknesses, 22 percent, on average, are actively disengaged. Underutilized employees not only hurt work outcomes, but have have significant financial implications, Gallup said.
The survey has a margin of error of 1 percentage point.