What Employees Want from Work

Some employees love to work; others work for personal fulfillment. Others like to accomplish goals and feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves, something important. Some people have personal missions they accomplish through meaningful work. Some employees like to work because of the challenge.

Whatever personal reasons there are for working, the bottom line, however, is that almost everyone works for money to satisfy their basic living needs. Compensation pays the bills. Money provides housing, gives their children clothing and food, sends their teens to college, and allows leisure activities and eventually retirement. To underplay the importance of compensation is a mistake.

However, in addition to being competitive, fairness in pay is the cornerstone of an organization that successfully recruits and retains committed workers. If your organization provides at least a competitive and equitable wage for your employees, then you have an opportunity to provide the "psychological" compensation employees need including:

Control of the work: including the ability to impact decisions, setting clear and measurable goals, having clear responsibility to complete a defined task and recognition for achievement of that task.

To belong: including teams — receiving timely information and communication, understanding management's reasons for decision making, team and meeting participation opportunities, visual and recordable documentation, and posting of work progress and accomplishments.

The opportunity for growth and development: including education and training, career paths, team development, cross training.

Leadership: employees want clear and defined expectations that provide a picture of the outcomes desired with goal setting and feedback, including an appropriate structure or framework.

In summary, ensure that your compensation system is:

Internally equitable rewarding high performers and positions that are critical to your organization. Furthermore, employers need to hold employees accountable for poor work performance to include removing that behavior.

Providing a living wage — you do not have to be the highest payer in town, but your compensation and benefits must be competitive to compete for talent.

SESCO Management Consultants is available for assistance should you have questions about this issue. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .