What Do Your Employees Want?

What do your employees want? Let’s get over the first hurdle. They want money. Though actually, this is actually pretty low down on the list of things they want, based on most surveys and studies. Everybody needs to make the wage that best fits them. So, if I need to make $40,000 a year to pay my mortgage and feed my children, less than $40,000 isn’t going to get it for me.

That said, amounts above the salary where I can pay my mortgage, feed my kids, and basically take care of myself really doesn’t matter. Money is not the big determinant. Too little money is a problem, but once you cross a certain threshold, money is not the determinant for employee satisfaction.

So what do your employees want? The first thing was a clear and compelling common vision. They want to know the direction of the company. Where are we headed? Is this company headed in a direction that is consistent with where I want to head as an individual? And does my personal mission align with the vision of the company? Can I see myself joining with everybody else in the company to achieve a common goal?

The second thing they want is an open and transparent culture. That means some form of open management, where you just communicate with your people and your employees. Here’s where we are, we’re ahead of the plan, we’re behind the plan, here are the corrective actions we’re taking, etc. An open-door policy doesn’t mean, by the way, that your door is open 100% of the time. You need to close your door sometimes. If your wife calls and your marriage is on the line because of something stupid that you did, or vice versa, you probably want a little privacy for something like that. So, close your door when appropriate. But having said that, the idea of an open-door policy is that you’re reasonably accessible to your people for questions, input, whatever it happens to be. You’ve available, you make yourself vulnerable, you make yourself a part of the team, and you’re willing and open to communicate with everybody on the team.

Transparency just means that there’s no secrets. If I’ve got a beef with you, I’m gonna come and say it. And I think you should do the same with me. We don’t have to be ugly to each other, but we do need to share as adults. And if we’ve got a problem, either a department, or individuals, or whatever, we have transparency. We’re dealing with it, and we’re open and above-board about it.

The third thing that employees wanted was they want a clear role, and clear responsibilities with accountability. Now, you might have some employees that don’t want accountability, and they are your worst employees. They want to stay under the management radar. They just don’t want you messing with them. Your good employees though, want a clear role, clear responsibilities, and ultimately, they want accountability. They really, genuinely want to know how they’re doing. That’s the purpose of a review, right? You say, “You’re doing great,” “You’re doing poorly,” “You did great on these areas, here’s a couple of places you need a little work.” It’s as simple as that.

Good people want to know what they’re going to do, not necessarily how they’re going to do it. That’s micromanagement. So tell them what they’re going to do, what their responsibilities are, and how they’re going to be held accountable at the end of the month, or week, or year, or whatever. Okay?

The fourth thing that employees want is to see that they’re having an impact on your clients. This is what is so great about working in a small business. If you’re working in the bowels of a company with 100,000 employees, it might be hard to gauge your impact day to day. But in a small business, you know every day that what you’re doing is impacting the customer or not. You hear the customer say it, you can see that in the customer’s level of happiness, that money is coming in the door, or the fact that the employee morale has gone up over time, whatever it happens to be. But you can see and feel that impact every day. So that is one advantage that we as small businesses have over the big multi-national companies.

The fifth thing they want is a team.They want to know that not only are you hiring me as a talented A player, you’re going to surround me with other A players over time. And we’re going to help each other build the company, so that we have a brighter and better future for everybody’s benefit. They don’t want to be an A player on a team of Bs or worse, Cs. They want to be an A player with other A players.

o, I’m telling you, being on a great team surrounded by great players, whether it’s in business, or in sports, or in anything else; that’s where it’s at. And lastly, of course, people need money. That’s where we started. So, these six things, money being the least important, are what terrific employees want. And to the degree you can design your offerings, and your organization to offer these six things, well, all of a sudden you might have the chance to be the employer of choice in your area. And that’s what we all want.

Written by RLO Training