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What's Most Important to Employees Today?
Part 1 - THE PROBLEM:
Keeping good employees is one of the major problems confronting organizations today. To retain valuable employees, senior management needs to have a good understanding of what is most important to their employees.
Part 2 - THE RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
I examined 18 employee opinion studies we conducted during the past 2 years. In each of these studies employees were asked to identify the 10 issues that are most important to them (regardless of their level of satisfaction with the issue).
The 5 issues most frequently cited by employees as most important to them are presented below along with strategies for meeting these employee needs.
- ENJOYMENT OF THE WORK
Employees today want to enjoy the actual work they are performing. They can often withstand highly stressful working environments and uncertainty about the future of their organization if they enjoy their actual work activities such as helping customers, using their creativity, or solving problems.
- Make certain employees have an opportunity to use their valued skills and abilities.
- Continually ask employees if they are enjoying their work assignments.
- Provide employees with more say in how they actually conduct their work.
- Ensure that employees receive the training they need to perform their job well.
- WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Satisfaction with the degree of balance they are able to strike between their work and personal life is also very important to employees today. This is especially true for younger employees. Even the extremely hard-working baby-boomers have reached a point in their lives where they realize that better balance is essential to their psychological health.
- Make work/life balance a recognized organizational value.
- Management should try to serve as role models for work/life balance.
- Reduce organizational inefficiencies that drain employee time and energy.
- Provide employees with scheduling flexibility.
- PAY SATISFACTION
Employees today still view pay as very important. They want to be paid fairly compared to others performing similar work in other organizations.
- Establish and communicate the organization's pay philosophy.
- Conduct salary surveys to make certain the pay levels are appropriate.
- Eliminate clear internal pay inequities.
- Carefully script the messages supervisors transmit to employees about pay.
- LINK BETWEEN PAY AND PERFORMANCE
Today's employees also want a clear linkage between the quality of their job performance and the pay increases they receive. They want to know that good performance will be recognized and appropriately compensated.
- Eliminate across-the-board increases.
- Make sure performance reviews are conducted.
- Don't tolerate ineffective performers.
- Use other types of rewards for good performers as well, such as recognition, opportunities for training, and interesting work assignments.
- ADEQUATE STAFFING LEVELS
It is important to employees today that their organizations hire and retain enough qualified employees to handle the workload. Downsizing and restructuring has left many organizations with a shortage of qualified workers. This has led to longer working hours, a frenetic work pace, and lower quality service.
- Conduct staffing audits to make certain staffing levels match the workload.
- When appropriate, quickly replace departing employees.
- Develop innovative recruiting methods.
- Bruce L. Katcher
Bruce Katcher, PhD is President of Discovery Surveys, Inc. His firm conducts customized employee opinion and customer satisfaction surveys. Learn more at www.DiscoverySurveys.com. He can be reached at BKatcher@DiscoverySurveys.com or 888-784-4367.