Employee Needs: 10 Things People Want Most at Work

Employee satisfaction and happiness are about more than money. Studies show that, while people do want to be compensated fairly, they actually care about other kinds of things more. And it’s those other things that play a huge role in talent retention whether we are talking about the corporate arena or the nonprofit world. People need to feel, do and be certain things in order to stay where they are and produce at their maximum level. Take a look at the following ten employee needs in today’s workplace:

1. Employees need to feel matched appropriately to their jobs.
A good match considers education, skills, interests, investment, and personality. A poor match typically leads to low productivity, behavior problems, and/or voluntary or involuntary termination.

2. Employees need to feel valued for their contributions.
It’s not enough for most people to simply do their jobs. They have to know their boss appreciates their talents, technical expertise, interpersonal skills, and willingness to exceed expectations.

3. Employees need to see meaningful progress in their work.
Moving from one isolated task to another day after day diminishes the work experience. Folks thrive best when they can see how one process or one meeting feeds or builds upon another.

4. Employees need opportunities to grow.
Growth usually occurs through planned professional development such as targeted reading, seminars, workshops, conferences, webinars, e-courses, and college classes. Choosing not to offer these kinds of opportunities sets people up to fail, stay stagnant, or lose interest.

5. Employees need to perceive their supervisor as a resource.
For people to reach optimal workplace performance levels they have to know they can go to their boss when they need more information, specific instruction, wise guidance, or a safe sounding board. Bosses who aren’t a credible resource to their staff communicate one of three things: they don’t care; they don’t know, or they don’t want to find out.

6. Employees need to feel trusted to do their jobs well and on time.
Most employees dislike and even resent micromanagement. As long as people have what the job requires, then supervisors should issue reasonable, clear expectations and deadlines and allow them to proceed on their own.

7. Employees need to sense genuine collegiality among the staff.
When employees feel like others in their department don’t really care about them, they are less apt to seek collaborations, function well on a team, or build personal relationships. When true collegiality exists, everybody wins-including the organization.

8. Employees need to receive useful, regular feedback.
Anyone in a supervisory position owes this to his/her staff. Employees should not have to guess how well they are doing. They deserve to be told at least on a monthly basis, and preferably more often.

9. Employees need specifics.
People need to know exactly what they are to do by when. They also need to know why they are not meeting supervisory expectations when this situation occurs. They need to be informed about policies and precisely what is off limits. They need to be given ideas around how they may improve their skills, behavior, approach, and/or style.

10. Employees need security.
People need to feel a certain degree of safety in the workplace. Safety from physical threat, bodily danger, sexual harassment, verbal abuse. They also need to know they have a job under certain conditions.

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