What do employees want other than money?

What do employees want other than money?

When we think about what makes employees unhappy – we usually start with pay. But, we know that money is a dissatisfier. You are dissatisfied if you perceive you don’t have enough. Either in real terms or in relative fairness terms. Beyond a certain amount, money in and of itself doesn’t motivate employees. So, what do employees want other than money?

What do employees want other than money?

The research on this has been pretty consistent for a while now.

According to the Hays Salary Guide (which is just one of many that have a similar message), the top three things that employees want are as follows:

  • Flexible work practices;
  • Career progression opportunities; and
  • Ongoing learning and development

Of course, fancy gyms and other benefits feature. But they are well well down the list.

Why is this good news for leaders

Often leaders feel hamstrung because salaries are dictated by complicated HR pay scales. Or budgets that determine the degree to which a pay increase can be awarded.

This survey is great news – as the top three items can all be introduced with very little cost, and even less palaver. You don’t need to be Google or Facebook or some other Silicon Valley firm with endless employee benefit budgets.

Even better, arguably, this is (in part) the role of the leader. To be ensuring that the job is being done is the most effective way possible, and that the employees are being stretched and grown in a way that enables the organisation’s goals.

Why it’s bad news for leaders

Often it’s easier to blame the organisation and its bureaucratic mechanics for an employee’s dissatisfaction.

“I would love to give you a pay rise. BUT, HR says I can’t” 

The above areas are inexpensive to introduce, for sure.

But they do take time and thought and consideration. In other words – effort on your behalf. They require having a conversation with your employees and really getting to know them. What motivates them. What makes them tick.

Key Takeaways

  • If our employees are dissatisfied with pay or benefits, it’s worth digging a bit deeper. For sure there may be some legitimate issues around pay relative to market value, or where an employee hasn’t had a pay increase for a number of years. However, often, the dissatisfaction about pay is a symbol for broader dissatisfaction.
  • The good news is we know what employees value. And those things are relatively easy to introduce.
  • What conversations can you have with your employees around what they value?
  • And what one step can you take to make things different for them?

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