What Employees Want

Michael Beck, Executive Coach & Business Strategist | 2/13/2013 | 80 comments

Michael Beck
It may be easy in this economy to find all the employees you need, but it doesn't mean that you're getting the best effort from your team.

There's a huge gap between someone just doing enough to keep their job and someone who's engaged, enthused, and willing to go the extra mile.

And while a good pay scale is important, it doesn't do the trick. Generally, money doesn't motivate many people. Years ago, I used to cite a study done in 1980 as proof, but lately, a number of current studies confirm that the things that matter to people are still the same. Human nature doesn't change.

If you're a manager, it must send chills down your spine to read that 65 percent of employees said they'd take a new boss over a pay raise!

So the question is, how do you make a difference with your team so that they're not only happy and loyal, but give you their best? The means to do this fall into two categories. The first relates to who you are as a leader, and the second pertains to what people want from their boss and their company.

Here are a few points to consider regarding who you are as a leader:

  • A leader who has no vision fails to inspire. It's one of the major gripes people have about their managers. People want a sense of purpose and it's our job to help provide one.

  • If you have no standards of performance, then anything will do. If you want to instill a sense of pride in people, you need to establish an expected level of performance and quality for your department and your team.

  • Have integrity. Simply put, do what you say you're going to do. Be the person you claim to be and be consistent in your actions. People respond to someone they respect and admire.

As far as what people want from their boss and their company, here is some further insight:

  • People want appreciation. Sounds simple enough, but often the demands of our job cause us to overlook this. Thank people for their effort. Acknowledge and recognize people publically for their accomplishments.

  • People want respect. One of the most powerful means of showing respect for someone is to listen to them. People want to be heard. Solicit ideas from people, empathize with them, and don't be dismissive. When we respect others, they respect us.

  • People want opportunity. No one wants to remain stagnant. When we help people grow, we make them more valuable and they feel more valued. When we look out for others, they look out for us.

  • People want enjoyment. There's enough stress in the workload and in the world without adding to it. Create a positive work environment where people actually want to show up. How do you do that? I don't know... ask them.

Simply paying people will yield good results. But if you really want high performance and outstanding results, give people what they really want.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
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Michael Beck   What Employees Want   6/14/2013 5:00:56 PM
Re: Challenging work
@Hareesh - I agree.
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Hareesh   What Employees Want   6/14/2013 3:29:46 PM
Challenging work
Some employees look for challenges in their work, if they do not enough challenges they get de motivated and start doing bare minimum work or quit their jobs.



Michael Beck   What Employees Want   3/1/2013 12:04:58 PM
Re: Economic downfall
@adil - I agree that when it becomes difficult to find a job, many people will take whatever they can in order to put food on the table.  But of course, that is a different issue altogether.  That choice is not a function of the company as much as it is about choices that people make when considering a job.
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Michael Beck   What Employees Want   3/1/2013 12:01:42 PM
Re: money and the things that come with it
@nasimson - The statement I made was, "just because a company pays someone well doesn't mean they treat them well."  Your example was one in which a company that paid well, also treated their employees well.  (didn't overwork them)
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adil   What Employees Want   3/1/2013 8:04:38 AM
Economic downfall
The downfall in economy is also making the situation bad. The jobs less people are willing to join even with low package and many employers prefer them as a low scale resource. The employee accepts an offer and works unwillingly only till he gets a better option. In this situation, many employees may get appreciation and respect from the employers but not the enjoyment and opportunity untill he is self satisfied from what he is doing.
SaneIT   What Employees Want   3/1/2013 7:50:32 AM
Re: employees want to be valued
I have seen that happen many times. A good employees burns out because they feel undervalued and they just keep waiting for that bump that will put them in the pay scale that they know they deserve.  It's a tough balancing act in some cases and it's important when you read articles about what makes employees happy that you realize financial compensation is not a matter of greed nor should it be the least important factor when making sure your work force is happy.
nasimson   What Employees Want   2/28/2013 12:12:42 PM
Re: employees want to be valued
@SaneIT: Harder than one can imagine. The restlessness and annoying wait for that one particular outcome becomes an obsession and not only that person but also his work suffers due to that.
nasimson   What Employees Want   2/28/2013 11:54:34 AM
Re: money and the things that come with it
@Michael: Oh I see. Well in that case, I can't put up an example from my own social circle. As far as my example is concerned, it makes a "dfferent" point. Not sure what you mean exactly when you say it is opposite.
SaneIT   What Employees Want   2/28/2013 8:10:39 AM
Re: employees want to be valued
@nasimson, that feeling of being strung along is hard to deal with especially if you enjoy your position for the most part.  It's like the carrot and the stick, you can see it right there but you get frustrated because you can never quite reach it.
Michael Beck   What Employees Want   2/27/2013 2:42:03 PM
Re: money and the things that come with it
@namison - Doesn't your example make the opposite point?  My statement was just because a company pays someone well doesn't mean they treat them well.
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