What do employees want?
The answer varies by employee, but research by a multitude of organizations reveals a collective “wish list” every boss should know.
Here are some of the most sought-after wishes and those that come up most often as unmet:
1. Take action on employee suggestions. The action might be to loop back with the employee to share appreciation for their thoughts and help them understand why you are or are not implementing their suggestion. The action is closing the feedback loop, which can be as worthwhile as implementing a suggestion an employee has. Either way you’re saying that what they shared was valuable. This will motivate them to offer more suggestions in the future.
2. Recognize their work, and show appreciation. Say “thank you” for a job well done. Reinforce specifically the behaviors you want to continue to see. At a two-way communication training recently, a woman asked whether she ought to reward and recognize someone on her team for “just doing their job.” Absolutely. Jobs don’t inspire and motivate people; leaders do.
3. Offer less BS and more humanity. Enough beating around the bush, or worse yet, “spinning” of messages. Employees want to know what’s happening—and why—in a direct way. Tell them what you know when you know it. Don’t wait too long after getting key information to communicate.
4. Empathize with them. Pause and imagine how they’re feeling. Show that you hear them, and validate their feelings. The payoff is an employee who knows you care; at the same time, you gather information that’s useful to motivate that employee.
5. Listen more. Stop talking so much. Ask for input and feedback. Employees are more likely to support things they help create. Stop the monologues and talking at them; have real, two-way conversations.
6. Set clear expectations. People rise to the expectations set for them. Many problems in business are caused by a lack of understanding of expectations or a misunderstanding of what’s needed and expected. Have you developed and articulated your expectations?
7. Show employees you care (in a genuine way). Find out what’s essential, and remember crucial milestones that are important to employees.
Best of all, everything on the above wish list is free.