What do employees really want at work?

What do employees really want from their jobs and workplaces? Over the last few decades, the demands and desires of employees have evolved and changed, where emphasis on what is important has shifted, mainly to a more holistic package, than purely remuneration. When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, employees need to delve deep into what it is that motivates and drives them, not just putting business matters first. There’s a fine line to balance between jumping onto all the latest HR trends for employees and truly understanding the inner workings of your team.

There is a plethora of reasons why employees work ranging from earning a salary, to truly believing in the cause / product or service, to fulfilling personal goals and feeling like they contributing to something larger than themselves. Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs can often be cited as a business model, where first and foremost employees need to take care of themselves physiologically – they need money for food and bills. Thereafter employees’ needs need to be fulfilled, ranging from security needs – stable job, safe working environment, career progression – to belonging and esteem needs, encompassing cooperative co-workers, being part of a team, getting recognition and so forth.

Is the pinnacle all about “self/workplace actualisation”? Or are employees simply happy to get a paycheck and leave at 5pm? Below are five key factors which make all employees tick, giving them a reason to get up in the morning as well as contributing to a greater sense of morale, dedication and desire:

Motivation is an employee’s intrinsic enthusiasm and what lets them take action to propel forward. Employees really want to be motivated, feel like they have a purpose and are contributing to the wider whole. In today’s demanding and fast-moving times, employee motivation is a must and employers need to find how to motivate different generations and a multi-cultural workforce in tandem. Employees want to feel empowered knowing they have the autonomy and expertise to make their own decisions. Employees want to feel respected and worthwhile and that their input matters – this is key for real motivation.

Work / life balance
In an unpredictable and fast-paced world, can one really switch off and separate personal lives? Employees are constantly striving to achieve a balance, and often struggle when they cannot fully attain it. Encouraging employees to take time out during the day and not bombarding them with emails over the weekend and in the evening will cultivate a spirit of inspiration and will allow employees to feel at ease and not guilty for asking for time off.

Recognising employees for a job well done and going the extra mile can make all the difference. Once someone’s hard work and efforts have been acknowledged, this has the power to multiply more great work and propel an employee forward, which ultimately creates a motivated and passionate corporate culture. The vast majority of employees thrive off peer-to-peer and social recognition, where employees can nominate each other for a job well done, as it is they who see the day to day workings of the team. Giving public recognition and saying thanks in front of your team, can help boost employee satisfaction and overall wellbeing.

Treated with respect
If you ask anyone in the workplace what they really want – to be treated with respect and dignity will be high up on the list! Employers can easily demonstrate this notion which will have an invaluable impact. Listen to the concerns of your employees, take their feedback seriously, don’t criticise and humiliate in front of the whole team, encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions, do not nit-pick over little things or patronise, be aware of your tone of voice and body language…. the list is endless! Employees want their jobs to be meaningful, and respect is a cornerstone of meaningful work.

Employees want to know they have the opportunity to climb the ranks in an organisation, nobody likes being stuck with nowhere to go. The mantra should dictate that as your business grows and develops, so should your employees. Have structures in place where employees can become experts in their area, where training and learning opportunities are always available, be it online courses, mentorships and certifications. Set KPIs and have bonus structures in place to motivate employees to excel. Employees want to have their personal interests taken into account, knowing what they do day-to-day contributes to the bigger picture in a notable manner, be it across all hierarchical levels.

Xexec an employee benefits provider, offering bespoke solutions to help with employee engagement and overall productivity. If you’d like to see how our platforms can benefit your team, speak to one of our Engagement Specialists today.