You might think you know what your employees want from you. Perhaps you’re sure that a fun team building weekend will be a nice way for your employees to bond as a team, or that on-site gym membership would be a great perk to help them be healthier.
But what employees really want and what employers think they want can look quite different. For instance, a team building weekend that requires your employees to pay for childcare or miss out on social events might be the last thing that they want.
Let’s look at some fundamentals that your employees need, then cover some great ways to go further in motivating and retaining great staff.
Three Fundamentals You Must Provide for Your Employees
Make sure you have these fundamentals in place before adding new initiatives.
Fair Pay for the Job They’re Doing
It might sound obvious, but employees want to be paid fairly for the work they’re doing. If your company offers below-market salaries, then it’s going to be tough to attract and retain talent.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your company’s mission is so important to your employees that they don’t care about the money. While money may not be a key motivator for them, you still won’t get the best out of people who are living on ramen noodles and worried about paying rent.
A Safe and Comfortable Working Environment
This is another non-negotiable. Your employees want (and need) a working environment that’s safe and comfortable. Workplace injuries are particularly common in industries like construction – but injuries either physical or mental can be a risk in almost any working environment.
Making sure that your employees are comfortable could mean paying attention to good air quality, letting employees easily adjust the temperature of their office or area, and keeping intrusive noise to a minimum. It could also mean creating a more accessible workplace.
Benefits That Meet Their Needs
One huge factor in your employees’ health and happiness is having benefits that meet their needs. That means making sure your health insurance plan is as good as possible, and that you’re offering PTO that covers paid sick time.
Other benefits, like flexible work schedules, are incredibly popular too: if you’re able to offer them, do.
Five Keyways to Motivate and Retain Your Employees
Once you have the fundamentals in place, here’s how you can go further in giving your employees what they want. That way, they’ll love their work – and stay around for years to come.
Recognition and Thanks
Establish a habit of thanking your employees on a regular basis. Sure, they’re being paid to do their job – but a simple “thank you” is polite and can mean a lot.
Make a particular point of thanking people (and even recognizing them in a larger way if they’ve gone above and beyond to deliver results.
A Sense of Meaning in Their Work
Do your employees understand how their efforts contribute to your company as a whole? In some roles, employees may not be able to easily see the bigger picture of how their work is important.
Helping employees to have a sense of meaning in their work could mean bringing positive client feedback or customer reviews to meetings, celebrating completed projects as a team, or simply telling each employee how their efforts helped move a project along.
Good Management … Without Micromanagement
Employees want your feedback and your support with their professional development. What they don’t want is to be micromanaged. No-one does their best work when they feel someone is constantly looking over their shoulder and nitpicking whatever they do.
Trust your employees. Be clear about the results you’re looking for and give them flexibility in how they work (and if possible, when and where they work) to achieve those results.
What could you change over the next few weeks or months to give your employees what they want? If you’ve got several possibilities to choose from, try running an anonymous survey to let your employees tell you what they’d appreciate most.