One of the areas of research we do at IQS is employee satisfaction and employee engagement and research to assess the organization’s processes and culture. Over the years we have garnered a few insights that might help you understand and better serve your staff.
First and foremost, all employees want to do a good job. Everyone defines this a bit differently, and each person has individual abilities, limitations, and potential. But when they walk into the door, they want you to know this fact—all start at this same base line of wanting to succeed.
Second, employees need a clear, consistent message. Senior leadership teams and managers often lose sight of the importance of the continuity and integrity of the message or direction they communicate. Employees constantly watch and look for direction from both immediate supervisors as well as senior leadership. At all levels of management, it’s their job to communicate the company message consistently and often. Employees require consistent direction and open dialog about where the company is headed. When this belief is absent or inconsistent, it creates uncertainty and that’s a big problem.
Third, employees want to be informed. Every research study we and other professional market research companies have done around the employee/employer space shines a harsh light on one specific and often glaring issue: communication.
Employees are hungry for information, and there always seems to be a shortage of it in the workplace. And they want meat, not garnish. Newsletters about birthdays and community events are fine, but feeding your staff significant, job-affecting information is something that will empower them to be more effective in their work..
But of course, on the flip side, the constant barrage of emails and memos from every far corner of the company can have quite the opposite effect, especially when they convey nothing of importance. Effectiveness of the message and the delivery method is key.
Coworkers are another important workplace issue. When a company is moving forward and has strong leadership and message, employees feel this and respond by working harder. But they want to work harder alongside their coworkers. Most people are usually fine working some overtime, but when they stay till 7 every night and everyone else is gone by 5, it can cause a great deal of resentment. It’s also a sign that the work is not distributed evenly. Fairness is one aspect here, but management seeing clearly is vital to find the right balance.
Fifth and finally, recognition is a big deal. Many companies struggle with this. For one reason, it means different things to different people. In one employee study we conducted, an insightful employee said, “Paychecks pay the bills, but recognition pays the heart.” You can’t have emotional bankruptcy any more than you can have financial bankruptcy within your employee base. Everyone wants to be compensated fairly, but they also want to be recognized. And it doesn’t have to be a big ceremony, just a pat on the back by management or senior leadership as well as from coworkers can cause a delight factor that carries employees through the rough times.
Every work situation is unique but employees are people too. They want to have their needs fulfilled and be listened to and respected. While these 5 items won’t fix every situation, they will give you a head start over your competition.