Does money really make the world go round? Any good boss knows the importance of engaged, enthusiastic and productive employees, but few have the spare cash to incentivize them financially. Luckily for them, it is a fallacy that the only thing employees care about is the figure at the bottom of their paycheck.
There are five crucial things staff want from their boss – and most of them don’t cost a penny.
A 2015 report asked employees to rank the top factors which contribute to job satisfaction. Pay came 4th. The top feature, considered ‘very important’ by a huge 72% of employees, was “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels.” Study after study suggests that when employees feel respected they work harder, stay at a company for longer and feel more enthusiastic about their work.
Yet the number of employees who claim their managers don’t respect them is a depressing 54%.
A manager who genuinely doesn’t respect their employee shouldn’t be working with them. But for most bosses, the problem is that they don’t adequately show employees that they appreciate them. Luckily this is simple to alter – even just smiling more and altering the tone of requests to make them sound less demanding helps. Communication is key – properly listen to your employees when they raise issues or queries, and encourage their participation in any discussion about company strategy.
60% of employees (and 72% of young employees) want daily or weekly feedback from their employer. If that seems like an unreasonable strain, consider Gallup’s finding that bosses who put in the effort are rewarded with 15% lower turnover rates and 12.5% higher productivity rates than their no-feedback peers. All employers know how much replacing staff whacks the bottom line and how much productive staff boost it. But if you want hard numbers, giving feedback translates into almost 9% more profits.
Don’t feel that you need to formalise regular feedback with meetings or reviews. An ad-hoc approach, reacting to whichever project the employee has going on at the time, seems sincerer and doesn’t waste as much time. Always give advice that is helpful, but don’t feel that you have to be falsely positive either; 92% of employees think that negative feedback is crucial in improving performance, as long as it is delivered constructively.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Corporate Social Responsibility may seem like just another buzzword, but employees consistently cite it as a key consideration in how they feel about their job. When asked what job aspects they would take a significant pay cut for, 35% of employees said a job “committed to corporate and environmental responsibility”, 45% said a job “that seeks to make a social or environmental difference in the world” and 58% said a company “whose values are like my own”.
Companies which hire a lot of Millennials (which, considering they will make up half the workforce by 2020, is pretty much everyone) should pay particular attention to their CSR, because it matters massively to this social group: 8 in 10 young people want to work for a socially responsible company. It’s not just a question of getting them in the door either – the best indication of a good worker is one who is engaged in their job, and the correlation between workers who are proud of their company’s CSR programme and workers who are engaged is very strong. And companies with inadequate CSR may end up battling not only with disengagement but downright dissent – almost half of all Millennials (and 61% of Millennials in senior positions) have refused to undertake a task at work “because it went against their personal values or ethics”.
If you don’t have a CSR programme already in place, the best way to go about implementing one is by consulting your staff and your customers to find out which values matter most to them and to ensure your programme fits in well with your company brand. Promote anything you are doing to raise awareness, and get staff involved. Charity fundraiser days boosts both your CSR perception and fosters team-building. Win-win.
Everyone likes to feel special, and employees are no different. Workers want to believe that their manager is invested in them as a person – that they care about their personal life and personal goals. Indeed, considering their manager “caring” is one of the key factors in creating a highly engaged employee. Employees who feel personally recognised are 4x as likely to consider their boss an “outstanding” leader, and 69% of them work harder when they feel their efforts are individually recognised.
Successfully reaping the benefits of personalisation is as simple as finding the time to get to know your employees. Encourage and attend work socialising events and work at building genuine relationships with the people you work with. By putting emphasis on a person-centred workplace you’ll foster stronger team dynamics between employees themselves as well.
The desire for flexible working tops employee wish-lists time and time again, yet employers often seem reluctant to implement it. Studies show that almost 3/4 of employees want the opportunity to work remotely, but only 1/3 companies offer it. Similarly, under half of bosses allow flexitime, despite three-quarters of staff desiring it.
Many managers associate such flexible policies with encouraging laziness. They should consider whether they also fall into the 64% of employers who expect their staff to be reachable outside office hours. One in five employees now spend 20+ hours of their personal time working, and half feel overworked and burnt out.
Show some trust in your employees and allow them to set a schedule which suits them. The benefits are tangible – when surveyed, 87% of companies who implemented flexible work schemes saw employee satisfaction rise, 71% noted greater productivity and 65% said turnover was reduced. Investing in your employees brings dividends.