What Do Employees Value? How to Increase Employee Retention
Most successful managers can tell you that there is a big correlation between happy workers and hard workers. Increased workloads, distrusting managers, and unclear goals within organizations have created work environments in which employees feel overworked, undervalued, and disengaged. Employers often have the misconception that paying their employees well will produce great joy and motivation that will result in better work. However, this is not usually the case. Many employers may be surprised to learn that money is not always the biggest motivating factor when it comes to productivity and happiness.
Of course, it is important to pay your employees fairly according to their contributions. However, thinking that money is the only way to gain your employees’ hearts can lead to high turnover rates. Learning about what people actually value the most in the workplace can help increase employee retention.
Here are 5 things that employees really want:
Everyone wants to be recognized for their hard work and achievements. Employees want to know that their contributions are adding value to their organization. Show your employees that you value them and their hard work and they will respond favorably, with greater satisfaction as well as productivity. They will be motivated to go above and beyond knowing that their efforts and results are being valued.
Showing appreciation can be as small as a simple “thank you” and a pat on the back, or something as kind as taking the employee out to lunch. Another way you can show appreciation is by letting your employee take the lead on a project. This shows that you trust them and their capabilities, knowing they will do a great job.
Lack of growth within an organization is a huge reason for high turnover rates. No one wants to feel like they are stuck in a dead end position. It’s human nature to want to develop yourself and grow within your career. Employees who can see themselves developing a future with the company they work for have more of a reason to be invested and work harder.
Victor Lipman, Contributor to Forbes Magazine, writes “As a manager, not surprisingly, I found many individuals highly motivated by loftier titles, added responsibilities, plusher offices, the respect of others in the organization…the various components of career advancement.”
Ensure that your company has a vertical career ladder rather than a horizontal one. Being a leader or manager is all about helping your employees develop themselves and building leadership skills. Creating a culture that promotes growth will boost productivity and engagement.
Having a good work-life balance is very important to many employees. This is more than making sure they aren’t working 12 hour days. Many highly successful companies, such as Microsoft and Google, have implemented onsite gyms, cafeterias, and spas so their employees have a chance to relieve workplace stresses and can remain happy and healthy.
Other companies are catching onto the trend of allowing their employees the option of telecommuting, or working remotely if they need to. As long as they’re getting their work done, they should be trusted and be allowed to manage their own time from home. Fostering a flexible work environment will set the tone for success and keep your employees happy and productive throughout the day.
Workplaces are continuing to grow increasingly diverse, with people from many cultures and backgrounds. It is especially important that employers foster inclusion and allow every team member to feel valued, included, and welcomed. If employees feel like they have no say or power, they will quickly lose motivation, and animosity and dissatisfaction can quickly spiral out of control. These feelings can spread like wildfire over your team.
Help employees see the value in each team member. Each person has something positive to contribute and brings a variety of skills and knowledge to the table.
Employees are only as empowered as their employers let them be. In order to empower your employees, take a step back and allow them to take certain projects and challenges into their own hands. Employees understand the tasks and roles required of them, but if they don’t feel empowered, they will lack the confidence to carry out their work successfully or to be a top performer.
On the flip side, empowering your employees will help them work more efficiently and effectively and they will be more willing to identify and solve problems or challenges that arise. Allowing your employees to take control will promote creativity and innovation, developing both themselves, as well as your organization.
An organization that is keen on growing and retaining its workforce would be wise to develop as many of these principles as possible as part of its employee retention programs. Providing your employees with a positive work environment and a sense of purpose in their roles will increase their chances of retention, improve performance meaningful work, and happiness in what they do.
To start the conversation and gauge your employees' satisfaction with their jobs, download the Manager Discussion Guide: Engaging Employees for Greater Retention.