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Susan M. Heathfield

What Do Employees Want at Work?

By September 14, 2013

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Five factors must be present in your workplace for your employees to be happy and motivated. Your employees need respect, to be members of the in-crowd, to impact decision making about their jobs, to have the opportunity to grow and develop, and regular access to reasonable leadership.

  • Respect is the fundamental right of every employee in every workplace. If people feel they are treated with respect, they usually respond with respect and dignified actions. Part of respect is praise and feedback so people know how they are doing at work.

  • Employees want to feel as if they are members of the in-crowd. This means that they know and have access to information as quickly as anyone else in your workplace.

  • Employees want to learn new skills, develop their capabilities, and grow their knowledge and careers. Making developmental opportunities available to each employee demonstrates your commitment to helping them develop their careers. They appreciate this.

  • Employees want to have an impact on decisions that are made about their jobs. Employee involvement and employee empowerment help to create engaged employees willing to put forth their discretionary energy for the business.

  • Employees do want leadership. They want a sense of being on the right track, going somewhere that has been defined and is important. They like being part of something bigger than themselves. Employees like to know that someone, who is trustworthy, is in charge. Be the person employees want to follow.

If these five factors existed in every workplace, productivity, motivation, and happiness would soar.

Image Copyright Getty Images - Christopher Robbins

May 21, 2010 at 9:34 am
(1) Kavita says:

Good points. If these factors are in place in an organization, employees will perform better. In order to be trustworthy, a leader should create an environment of trust in the organization. In HCL Technologies, pushing the envelope of transparency in communication and information sharing was seen as a trust building action. This was mentioned in Vineet Nayar’s book ‘Employees First, Customers Second’. Also, Inverting the organizational hierarchy and putting employees in the value zone helps empower them.

May 24, 2010 at 8:24 am
(2) Human Resource Management says:

You have to learn new skills, improve capabilities, and grow knowledge and knowledge sharing are really good.

June 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm
(3) marbal says:

It would be very nice to meet these things!

November 11, 2012 at 9:19 am
(4) Russell Davis says:

I totally agree with Susan’s Five Factors.. Dr Russ Davis

November 19, 2012 at 10:00 am
(5) Lynn Ferguson-Pinet says:

Great list, I would add one more thing. That the job they do allows them to utilize their innate skills and preferences. The list you have provided is definitely about providing the best environment and opportunities, but if the job they actually do doesn’t let them utilize their skills every day, they will feel less motivated.


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