Do You know what the Top 10 Things Employees Want?


1. Employees want purpose. Don’t assume that a hefty paycheck and regular bonuses are the most important things to your employees. They, like you, want to know that what they’re doing on a daily basis has some purpose behind it. “What people want most is the chance to make a difference.”  When you have a chance to have your ideas heard and one of them actually gets implemented, it’s such a boost.

2. Employees want goals. To instill a sense of purpose in your employees, be sure to lay out a clearly-defined set of goals for them on a regular basis. Align each department’s goals every three months. “The goals have to be very measurable, obtainable goals.”  For the sales team, for example, that might mean setting a goal as to the number of deals the team is expected to close in a certain period of time for a certain dollar amount. Once goals are in place, it is up to each team to decide how to achieve them.

3. Employees want responsibilities. Sometimes the hardest part of being a manager is delegating, but employees crave your trust, and with that trust, should come responsibility.

4. Employees want autonomy. Unless you’re managing an assembly line, give your employees the freedom to work in a way that works for them. Daniel Pink, the Washington D.C.-based author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says, “Let people figure out the best paths to the goal, rather than breathe down their necks all the time.”

5. Employees want flexibility. In addition to deciding how they work, the experts say employees also appreciate having a say over when they work.  Generation Y is looking for a synergy between their personal lives and their professional lives. It involves a great deal of trust, but, as Pink says,(the author of “Drive,”) “If you don’t trust your employees, you’ve got much bigger problems.”

6. Employees want attention. Just because you’re giving employees the control they crave doesn’t mean they don’t want guidance and feedback.  Check in with them every few weeks, even if it’s just for a minute or two. “Look them in the eye and ask how things are going. Find out what’s really going on in their world.” “Responsibility is about giving them a chance to make a difference, but attention is the human dimension of managing.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that the traditional annual performance review is your big chance to tell your employees what’s working and what’s not. There’s no way to get better at something you only hear about once a year.   Use the year-end to make decisions about promoting employees, and use the quarterly meetings where goals are set, to address big operational issues within each department.

7. Employees want opportunities for innovation. Not long ago, Google announced its 20 percent creative time policy, which encourages employees to work on any innovative ideas they have that are company-related during 20 percent of their hours at work.  People need to be given a chance to bring about something new and exciting!  Just asking people for ideas doesn’t create innovation. It’s a culmination of creativity and leadership.  Though you might not be able to give your employees this much time on the clock to work on side projects, you can always foster innovation through employee brainstorming sessions such as weekly group meetings that allow the staff to work with new people and generate fresh ideas.

8. Employees want open-mindedness. When your employees come to you with their ideas, you need to treat them with equal parts sensitivity and honesty. Be sensitive because the more an employee gets shot down by an authority figure, the less likely he or she will be to make suggestions in the future. It’s also important to be honest because, as that authority figure, you may know what’s best for your business and what’s not. You don’t have to accept every idea that comes your way.  Don’t just shut someone down.   You may have to learn to say: “here’s what I know: years ago we tried something similar. Here’s what happened. Give some more thought to your idea, and come back if you think you can make it work.'”

9. Employees want transparency.  Staff should be cognizant of where the organization’s going.  Employees, especially the younger work force, want this information.  It gives meaning and more purpose to their contribution to the organization.  This builds a better communication channel.  You need to build it by talking about ordinary everyday things.  You need to have rehearsed talking about ordinary things before you can talk about anything major.

10. Employees want compensation. Your employees do need to provide for themselves and their families, so, of course, salaries, bonuses and benefits are important, but perhaps not in the way you might think.  Research on what motivates employees has led me to this conclusion: “The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.  I think it’s better to pay people a little more than the norm and allow them to focus on their work than to pay them based on performance. Don’t pay people a measly base salary and very high commissions and bonuses in hopes that the fear of not having enough food on their tables will inspire them to do extraordinary things.

This is a subject very near and dear to me.  I feel like you office/business is only as successful as your ability to create your own box and environment that is unlike other jobs because the combination of talents equal happiness and success as you define it.

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