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What your employees really want

May 21, 2018

Many companies are losing talent at an unprecedented rate. Those lucky enough to have low staff turnover, still have legitimate concerns about how to get the best out of their people and keep them interested. 

We know from the stats, that conventional approaches to employee engagement no longer seems to be working. 

Tenure in organisations today is shorter than ever. In contrast to 20 years ago, the balance of power has shifted from organisations to skilled workers, and those with sought after skills have real options about who they work for and what that looks like.  It is therefore more important than ever to understand what today’s employees really want. 

We all know the obvious reasons why people work:  economic empowerment, development opportunities and the status that comes from working within a respected industry. But sometimes we miss the more intangible reasons, which although not as obvious, are oftentimes more important attracting and keeping our top performers! 

Meaningful work 

Gone are the days ofderiving meaning purely from pay. Employees today want jobs that have meaning and provide them with a sense of purpose. While most workers still view earnings as the most important factor in taking a job, research by Forbes indicates that 50% of millennials would take a pay cut for work that matches their own values.  Organisations are more than ever having to front foot their approach to issues like diversity, sustainability and corporate social responsibility to attract the best.  

Strong Relationships 

It’s easier than ever for employees to change jobs, especially with all the opportunities the digital revolution has provided. Next to meaningful work, one of the key factors in retaining employees is the quality of relationships with their manager, team members and co-workers. Mutual loyalty, trust, and respect are all things that inspire employees to stay in a role, and we ignore these factors at our peril. 

Employees want to share their views 

Instead of the traditional approach where managers provide one-way feedback on performance, todays workers are much more interested in a mutual exchange of ideas and information. While most employees still value feedback on their performance and constructive critique, they also want to make suggestions, present concerns, participate in problem-solving and share with their managers what they need from themMutual feedback creates a much more empowered relationship.  

Understanding what’s happening at the coal face is of critical importance to smart organisations who value both their employees and customers. Your workers are a powerful source of information, and most are keen to share their views if asked. 

Ten years ago, many of us would have rated these ‘softer’ factors as nice to have, but not essential in attracting and retaining talent.  Workers today are voting with their feet and telling us otherwise.  Ensuring that your organisation focuses on both tangible and intangible work benefits, will ensure that you stay ahead of the game in the war for talent.