5 Things Your Employees Wish You Knew About Keeping Them Happy

One of the biggest challenges facing business owners and HR teams is answering the question, “How can I attract and retain the best talent possible?” Your team is the backbone of your company, and almost nothing disrupts your company’s flow more than receiving a key employee’s two weeks notice and the ensuing scramble to find a top flight replacement. It’s an HR and management nightmare.

The race to bolster retention and increase employee happiness is leading many companies to adopt trendy perks packages and modernized workspaces in an attempt to stand out. But I think this might be the wrong way to go, and I have the research to back up that theory.

At TINYpulse, we’ve sent out hundreds of thousands of surveys to employees worldwide over the past 18 months. What we’ve found is that what employees value most (and what they’ll stick around for) has nothing to do with work perks or even higher salaries. In fact, it’s much simpler than that.

According to the users of TINYpulse, if you really want to keep your best employees, here are five things they really want from you:

#1. They want recognition

As basic as this might sound, your employees want to be recognized for doing a great job. Too many employees feel that their hard work is going unnoticed (or worse, disregarded.) At some level we’re all looking for validation, and your employees are no different.

Take the time to recognize their hard work whether it brings huge, splashy results or not. Show them that your company cares, and they’ll happily stick around.

#2. They want to be coached

Your best employees aren’t content to just slide by. They want to know how they are doing and how they can improve. That means critiquing, but it also means coaching. Help them recognize what they’re doing well and where areas for improvement exist.

Help them develop new skills. If your employees don’t feel they can grow professionally with your company, they’ll go searching for a company where they can.

#3. They want to feel at home

Your employees spend more hours each week at the office with coworkers than they do at home with family or friends. If they feel isolated at work, they’re more likely to become disengaged and, in the end, leave.

Give them opportunities to meet and interact with the rest of the team. One of the most frequent concerns shared by employees is that they feel they don’t know all of their coworkers (especially new additions.) Make sure their time at the office feels more like a family gathering than like a prison sentence.

#4. They want more work

One of the biggest surprises we’ve seen at TINYpulse is how often our users point out that a coworker is overloaded with assignments that they would gladly share. In other words, they want to help!

Carefully monitoring each employee’s workload is one way to ensure they are staying engaged and feeling challenged. Remember, your employees are looking for opportunities to grow and when their workload is too small, they feel undervalued and disengaged. Show your team they are valued by filling up their plates.

#5. They want a voice

This is a little thing that goes a long way. We are constantly hearing from employees who feel their feedback is being ignored or not asked for at all. They are full of great ideas that they want to share, but you aren’t asking.

Take the time to hand them the microphone the next time you discuss a project or company policy; It will help them feel ownership over the direction of the company, and will make them much less likely to jump ship.

Keeping your team engaged and making sure they are invested in the future of your company doesn’t have to be difficult. Start out by trying the five tips above. Remember, sometimes the best way to find out what your employees really want is by asking them. Show them you’re listening and committed to improving, and they are likely to respond in kind.

About the Author

Jimmy Winskowski is a West Coast startup lover who is dedicated to changing the way you approach your workday. He believes that the grass is greener where you water it most and that behind every great piece of data is a story. Follow him on Twitter at @jwinskowski.

Photo Credit: Takashi(aes256) via Compfight cc