“Organizations… are nothing more than the collective goodwill and aspirations of the people involved”. – Sergio Marchionne
As a business owner, you are responsible for the collective goodwill, you are the vehicle for people to achieve those aspirations. You are, in short, responsible for a positive working environment.
The workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup did the research for us in 2020 and we now know what it is that the people want. They are:
- More pay
- Challenging work
- Flexible hours
- Proximity to home/easy commute
- Opportunity to develop skills
What your people want
There are many ways, in addition to a raise, to give a financial reward. Consider a one-time bonus, but also perks like additional insurance coverage, car detailing (a suggestion I heard from HR specialist Charlotte Merritt), eye visits or dental visits if these are not included in their health coverage, membership at a club of their interest (gym, hobby, etc.). Think of things your employees want and need and cover those costs.
People don’t want to be bored. They don’t want to feel replaceable, especially by a machine. They don’t want to feel like machines themselves.
People want to be proud of their work. They want to learn new skills, apply new ideas, and leave work at the end of the day knowing they have accomplished something.
Work that challenges them keeps them interested and productive. Give your employees the opportunity to think, experiment, and learn.
Why do your people want flexible hours?
No, I am asking: do you know why? Find out.
Flexibility will differ from person to person, so you’ll have to ask your employees what suits them best. Make sure the end result is fairly equal across your team but much more importantly: make sure you can monitor performance by output, rather than hours.
If you can offer fewer commutes, do it.
Opportunity to develop skills
This connects to a point we already made above: challenging work. And the result of being challenged should be professional growth.
Find out what people want to learn, but also encourage them in directions that you think will be of value. And then provide the opportunity to learn.
Remember to find options in technical skills, professional skills, and essential skills.
You may have picked up on a common theme in these desired perks. They are personal. They mean different things to different people.
The list you have above is a list of categories. The way to provide these perks is to get to know your employees, find out how these categories are valuable to each employee, and then offer them the perk that makes a positive difference in their lives.
Talk to your employees. Use the time in your performance reviews to hear from them about their greater aspirations, organize informal lunch and coffee breaks to get to know them better, and do what you can to keep an active dialogue with your team members. Don’t know where to start? Start here: a 30-minute phone call to discover the next steps.