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Keeping your employees happy is more than a higher paycheck

What do employees want? What are their reasons for leaving their jobs?

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Successful company with happy employees colleagues in modern office
Successful company with happy employees colleagues in modern office

Resignation paper in hand, Emily is walking briskly towards her manager’s office.

She has been working for this corporation for the past three years. She made a good living, well above average which had allowed her to take vacations on some of the most exciting and expensive places in the world. However, as her physician had told her on her previous health check appointment: Your workplace is making you sick.

She has been suffering from neck and backaches for the past year. She had so much work she was effectively glued to her chair. She would go to the bathroom to cry. In the past months, more employees had left the company and her manager requested her to take on their jobs. She was practically doing a four persons’ job!

Walking up the stairs, to her manager’s office she recounts in her mind: coming home close to midnight more often than not, being too exhausted in weekends to go out with friends, working on weekends, being alone because she did not have time to meet someone. She had already found a new job although it came with a smaller paycheck. She did not care, she had to leave this toxic environment.

You’re leaving for more money, aren’t you? the manager shouts, after reading Emily’s resignations paper. Emily, hand on the doorknob stops for a second upon hearing her question. She is not at all surprised at how little the management is aware of their employees’ level of disengagement.

Image source

What do employees want? What are their reasons for leaving their jobs?

Let’s find out!

If only this was just a made-up story, but unfortunately it is a true story.

Moreover, the majority of managers believe their employees leave because they want more money, not because they are bad managers.

But they are wrong: only 12% of employees actually leave an organization for more money, while 33% of employees said their reason for leaving the job was a bad boss or manager.

To help you discover what is important to your employees and what does happiness at the workplace looks like, I curated the following relevant statistics via forbes.com and accessperks.com:

  • 79% of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving;
  • Recognition is the number one thing employees say their manager could give them to inspire them to produce great work;
  • 39% of workers would work harder if they are happy in their current role or place of work;
  • 86% of employees between the ages 18-34 said they’d sooner sign a contract with remote work options;
  • 32% of employees would take a 10% pay cut for a job they’re more interested in or passionate about;
  • Businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 30-50% higher than those that don’t;
  • 83% of workers participating in a mentoring program admitted that their experience positively influenced their desire to stay at their organization;
  • 54% of employees said their main reason for staying on the job is their loyalty to their co-workers, team, boss or company;
  • 38% of workers say their happiness impacts their performance at work;
  • 68% of men and 72% of women say work is more than just a means of making a living.

Your employees’ happiness is more than a higher paycheck
Remember the factory work scene in Charlie Chaplin’ silent movie, Modern Times? It depicts the industrialization era when the workers were being paid for doing one job only: it was physical (i.e. screwing a bolt), it did not involve any creative thinking or analytical strategy.

Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (image source: cnn.com)

Generations later, the world has changed from the time of Modern Times and employment followed suit.

Supply your employees with these 6 important factors to keep them happy, engaged and loyal to your company:

  1. Your employees want to perform meaningful work. Employees spend more time at work than with their families so it has become increasingly important for them to work meaningful jobs. They want to feel like their work matters and brings changes for the better. They are not just one small piece in a machine; they are people bringing emotional value to your company. Their work must have higher value and purpose.
  1. Your employees want the company values to align with their own.
    This point is especially true for Millennials, but not exclusively. According to LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Culture report, 86% of Millennials (those between the ages of 22 and 37) would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own. All employees want to be proud of the company they work for. Build your company culture because it is what motivates and inspires your employees.
  1. Your employees seek a flexible work environment.
    Many companies have run a 4-day workweek experiment. For some this experiment turned out to be a success: it proved to be more productive than the traditional 5-day work. Flexible working arrangements is an important subject for employees because it improves work-life balance, it allows greater autonomy and supports positive morale.
  1. Your employees want to be heard.
    Your employees need to speak freely and be heard. If management is not interested in or does not value their feedback, it is a serious issue.

“”

While employee engagement remains one of the biggest elements to a company’s success, a chronic lack of engagement in the workplace is causing many corporations to fall behind in today’s world of constant innovation and change.

Sodexo

Two-way communication between employer and employee leads to building trust and a higher engagement rate. The employees feel the company treats them with respect and dignity. Studies have shown that engaged employees are 22% more productive. Nurture a company culture focused on open communication.

  1. Your employees want to receive workplace recognition
    As mentioned early in this article, workplace recognition is a powerful incentive for producing great work. Employee recognition is paramount to employee engagement and retention. Everyone wants to be appreciated for his or her hard work! Your company can show its appreciation for their hard-working employees through instant feedback, peer recognition, trips or time-off (via octanner.com)
  1. Your employees want you to support their professional and personal growth.
    Research says businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 30-50% higher than those that do not. Providing your employees with personal and professional development opportunities is vital if you want to nurture and retain talent in your company.

Conclusion

Talk to each employee regarding their personal and professional development directions and create growth plans together.

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