As the owner of your business, it’s your job to figure out what your employees want and need from you in order to do their best work. You might think that it’s all about promotions, raises, and time off— but those aren’t the only factors keeping your employees around.
In this post, I’ll let you in on six things your employees want and need from you in order to be successful.
Your Employees Want a Mentor
One thing your employees really want (and need) is a mentor. Employees want to feel like they have someone they can confide in, someone they can learn from, someone who encourages them—someone to show them the ropes. It’s an incredibly important part of career development and overall success. According to a national survey of Fortune 500 executives, 96 percent said mentoring is an important developmental tool, and 75 percent said it played a key role in their personal career success.
If it’s not possible for you to mentor all or any of your employees, make sure you connect them with other people in your organization who can mentor them—like a manager, a more-seasoned employee, or the head of a different department. Take the time to develop a formalized mentorship program and use it as a way to not only help the employees already working for you, but also as a way to continue attracting top talent.
Resources to help you become a better mentor to your employees:
Your Employees Want Education
Your employees also want you to provide them with education opportunities while they work for you. Most employees don’t want to feel like they’re in a dead end job that’s going nowhere fast. Instead, they want to feel like they are learning and growing in ways that will help them move up in their career—whether that means a promotion, a raise, or simply more responsibilities.
There a number of ways you can go about educating your team. You can schedule weekly 1-on-1 time with each of your employees, enroll them into free online education courses on sites like Coursera, send them to trade shows and other events, or even go as far as offering to pay for traditional continuing education at local community colleges or universities. When you take the time to invest in the success and growth of your employees, they become more committed to investing in and helping with the success and growth of your business.
Resources you can use for employee education:
- How to Implement a Continuing Education Program
- Why Employee Development Is Important, Neglected And Can Cost You Talent
Your Employees Want Transparency
Transparency is also important to your employees. Employees want to feel like they are “in the know” with everything that is going on with the company they work for—things like whether the goals from last quarter were met, what changes are on the horizon, what new products or services are being worked on, etc. You might not be able to share everything with your employees (or want to), and that’s ok. You can embrace transparency without having to share every little detail with your employees—in fact, I don’t recommend you do so. But you can share some information as a way to let employees know that you are willing to be transparent with them.
The key is to start small. Invite your employees to an all-team meeting where you let them in on a new product that’s on the roadmap. Or talk about progress that has been made or a problem that you are working on fixing. Sharing little bits of information here and there with your employees is a great way to start building trust and loyalty among your team.
Articles on the value and importance of transparency:
Your Employees Want Appreciation
Your employees need to feel like they you appreciate their time, effort, ideas, and work. They want to feel appreciated and recognized by their employer. According to research mentioned in the book How Full Is Your Bucket, “The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.” As an employer, it’s your job to put recognition and appreciation programs in place for your employees.
You can show appreciation in a number of ways—you can give your employees a promotion, a raise, a bonus, extra time off, extra perks, or more responsibilities. Again as mentioned above, the key is to start small. Showing appreciation doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. When you appreciate your employees, they work harder for you—not because they have to, but because they want to.
Articles about employee appreciation:
Your Employees Want To Be Asked
Your employees want you to value their input. They want to feel like trusted confidants. Employees want their employers to ask them things like, “what do you think we could be doing better?”, “what can be do to boost happiness and productivity?”, “where do you think you can provide the most value?,” etc. It’s important that as a business owner, you take the time to actually ask your employees what they think. In most cases, they have a wealth of information to share that could help you make the changes or improvements that need to be made in order to continue growing your business.
You can ask your employees for input in person, in meetings, or in private using services like TinyPulse, Google Forms, and others. When you ask your employees for help, you build loyalty and trust, and you discover useful information about your products, customers, and business.
Articles about employee input:
- Want a Better Business? Listen to Your Employees
- 6 Ways Effective Listening Can Make You A Better Leader
Your Employees Want Purpose
Purpose is also important to your employees. In addition to wanting to feel proud of the company they work for, your employees also want to feel like there is purpose in and behind the work they do. A good salary and job security aren’t enough for employees anymore. Now more than ever, employees want to feel like the companies they work for aren’t just in it for the money—that they actually care about customers and making the world a better place. And they want to help. It’s why the term “social entrepreneurship” now exists in business vocabulary.
To help your employees feel like they have purpose, ask them what they are passionate about, then figure out how you can work it into their role. Develop a volunteer program for your company, or commit to donating a certain percentage of your profits to a cause (or multiple causes). When your employees feel like they have purpose, they stick around.
Articles about the importance of purpose:
Bonus: Your Employees Want Technology
Your employees also want access to technology and tools that make their jobs easier. There are a lot of tools out there that can help scale efforts, improve processes, and automate tedious tasks. Employee scheduling software, for example, can significantly improve team communication, accountability, and happiness. As a manager, it’s up to you to find and implement the best technology and tools for your team.
If you’re reading this as a business owner or manager, what else do you think employees want from you? If you’re reading this as employee, what do you want from your employer? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.What Your Employees Really Want From You Rob Wormley