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What Do Employees Want?

I talk to a lot of people over the course of my day.  Many of these folks are thinking through their next career steps and talking about their interests – what they are really passionate about doing.  At the same time, I am also often on the receiving end of venting – hearing everything imaginable regarding company and “boss” behavior.  Most of all, people are trying to figure out what they want to do when they grow up.

As you can imagine, all of these discussions are held in the utmost of confidence.  However, I have learned a great deal about what employees want and hope to get out of their employers and bosses.  I’ve summarized some the themes I have heard:

  • Listen to me – Employees want to be heard…really heard.  They usually care about their work as well as their company and devote most of their waking hours to their jobs.  They really want to know their opinion counts and that they can make a contribution to the business. 
  • Talk to me – Tell me what is happening.  Employees want to understand what is going on in the business.  They feel they will perform at a higher level if they are informed.  In addition, they know they can handle good or bad news – they just want to be included so they can adjust their work accordingly.
  • Stretch me – Talented employees want to be challenged, stretched and provided with ongoing interesting work.  If they get bored, they will not be engaged or performing at their best.  Boredom leads employees to become disgruntled and begin to look elsewhere.
  • Treat me like a grown up – Most employees want to be treated the way you want to be treated.  They want to be trusted.  Although there are always exceptions, most employees will want to do the right thing – so trust them and your loyalty to them will come back to you and then some…

I know we all understand these simple messages; they are not rocket science.  Now if we can only remember to put them into practice!

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