Employees Want Simple Things In Life
Read in 4 min. It's a tough and competitive business world. Everyone is faced with rising taxes, increasing insurance and energy costs which, in turn, are causing feelings of discomfort and uncertainty. And, for many organizations, finding (and keeping) great people is becoming a challenge...
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Contrary to popular belief, employees are not “apathetic or indifferent” about their work. Our research indicates that they have strong feelings about who they are, what they do and who they work for. Employees are looking for a job where their experience and skills will be used effectively. Since they are not getting comfort, certainty and consistency from society, then they want it from their employer.
Unfortunately right now, for many organizations, there is an enormous gap between the employee's views about an “ideal” work environment and their current reality. Again our research shows that employees are harbouring negative feelings about workload, lack of support from their managers, lack of recognition, ineffective performance reward systems, the company's inability to deal effectively with poor performers, and a lack of participation in decisions that affect their work.
What is an employer to do?
The first thing is to recognize that there is a need to build and sustain a productive, healthy workplace environment. In short, create a culture that helps you attract and retain good people who are dedicated to satisfying more customers, more often.
The second thing is to solicit feedback from your employees and to act on the feedback that is received. In a recent presentation, Susan Taylor, York Region's human services planning director drew on research conducted by the Canadian Policy Research Network and stated that ?[employees] want respect, interesting work, good communications, a sense of accomplishment, harmonious work-family balance and the opportunity to develop skills and abilities.? The message here is simple, changes in a workplace must be honest with substantial shifts, not just gimmicks and window dressing employees can easily see through.
The third thing is to recognize that one of the primary “wants” of employees is to ?not look stupid or incompetent on the job?. Therefore, as employers, we must have good answers to the following seven key questions about what employees really want to know:
1- What are my job responsibilities? (Ambiguity is a killer.)
2- How am I “really” doing? (Performance management is an everyday thing not an annual event.)
3- What skills and knowledge do I need to succeed? Today? Tomorrow? (People want the opportunity to develop their abilities.)
4- Does my manager really care about the issues I face? (People work for people not organizations.)
5- How are we doing, as a department? As a company? (People simply can not care about things they don't know about.)
6- Where are we going? (People want to be inspired and want to be optimistic about the future.)
7- How can I contribute? (People want to know that they are doing the right things for the right reasons.)
Demographic shifts in the population are going to put employees in the driver's seat particularly as it relates to attracting and retaining great talent. Providing the simple things - honest pay and recognition for honest effort in an environment that challenges and respects employees is a great start.
The fourth thing is to realize that “people leave managers, not organizations”. Our research clearly indicates that an employee's direct supervisor is the person who is the primary source of inspiration and motivation. This means that front-line supervisors, in particular, have to build their skills and be equipped with the resources to recognize and respond to the needs and concerns of employees.
Providing employees with the “simple things” isn't a program or item on a “to-do” list, it is a strategic priority for every leader in every organization.
What employees want is better information, communication and feedback.
1- Employees have strong feelings about who they are, what they do and who they work for.
2- Employees are harbouring negative feelings about workload and lack of support from their manager.
3- Creating a workplace that works is a strategic imperative.
4- Having answers to the seven basic questions employees have is a “must” for every organization.
5- Managers, especially those on the front-line, have to be equipped with the resources to effectively manage and lead their people.
Your thoughts matter - more than you can imagine.
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