Yes… what do they want? And once we figure that out, how do we give it to them?
So, does the ever so wise Double Dubs have the answers? Nope. For that, I turn to Wharton. Wharton did an interview with David Sirota
- First, to be treated fairly. We call that equity. Employees want to know they are getting fair pay, which is normally defined as competitive pay. They want benefits and job security. These days, employees especially need medical benefits, so those have become significant. On the non-financial side, employees want to be treated respectfully, not as children or criminals. Equity is basic. Unless you satisfy those needs, not much else you do is going to help. If I feel underpaid and if I feel that the company is nickeling and diming me, or wants to pay as little as possible, there is not much else an organization can do to boost my morale. This runs contrary to what a lot of people in my field say — that pay is not that relevant. Baloney. It’s terribly, terribly important.
- Second, employees want a sense of achievement from work. The key element is to be proud of what you do and proud of the organization for which you are doing it. People don’t want to work for an organization that’s run by a bunch of crooks.
- The third element is camaraderie. This is also not mentioned much in our field, but it’s key — not only in the sense of having a friend, but working well together as a team. That is a tremendous source of satisfaction for people.
Sirota, David, May 4, 2005. “Giving Employees What They Want: The Returns Are Huge,” Knowledge@Wharton. Retrieved from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu on December 27, 2005.
So let’s think about this. “First, to be treated fairly. We call that equity. Employees want to know they are getting fair pay, which is normally defined as competitive pay.” He is not saying they want to get paid more than they are worth. Nor is he saying they want benefits from another world (union leaders may be saying this, but not necessarily the workers). Equity is a simple concept, “is my total compensation fair?” So we go back to last week’s discussion about compensation and benefits being attractors, but not retention agents.
Second, they want achievement and to be proud of their work and workplace. I’m not going to call this “engagement.” However, pride in what you do and who you do it for is critical to the engagement formula. The 100 Great Places to Work Institute names the pride as one of the indicative factors:
At the heart of our definition of a great place to work – a place where employees “trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with” – is the idea that a great workplace is measured by the quality of the three, interconnected relationships that exist there
Great Place To Work Institute. Retrieved from http://www.greatplacetowork.com/great/index.php on December 27, 2005.
Lastly, you have to have camaraderie, also a formula in the Great Places to Work index. Basically, you like who you work with and maybe have friends there.
Fairness, Pride, Camaraderie… Is it that easy?
We’re not talking about paying above market. We are not trying to expand our health care coverage. We are talking about being fair over the long term with people’s compensation, developing a solid employer brand, and hiring good people and cultivating relationships between them.
Fairness. That’s something I think we can all handle. There is a difference between building a performance based culture and creating incentive compensation and performance plans, and simply being fair and equitable in your treatment of employees. Pride is really employer branding and your effectiveness with conveying that to the employee population. Thank God I already did a thing about Employer brand: Employer branding, talent and engagement Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and you all know camaraderie is way out of my leage (maybe I should not be admitting that).
So what does this “giving employees what they want really mean? It’s the first step to engagement and increased productivity. Basically, it’s a measure of overall satisfaction through the creation of workplace culture and environment.
What talent wants though, is simple. They want a good place to work, meaningful work, and opportunities to grow. Figure out how to deliver this, and you have your cornerstone talent strategies.