The previous article discussed three of the seven things that employees value in their jobs - a great boss, respect and recognition. Today's article looks at the remaining four factors that play an important role in encouraging people to stay with the organisation:
4. Career progression
More often than not, employees leave because they feel stagnant or, worse, redundant. When people feel that they are no longer adding value to the organisation, or that they have reached a ceiling in terms of their career path, it is difficult to expect them to stay motivated.
As an employer, you need to have a plan for individual growth. Employees need to feel challenged in their work. They want to upgrade themselves, either through training or taking on more responsibilities and expanding their portfolios.
In a survey done by Robert Walters last year, more than half of the respondents claimed that their main reason for moving on to greener pastures was to seek better career development or job promotion opportunities.
Giving someone a raise without additional responsibilities or the possibility of advancement is actually counter-productive as it sends the message that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Employees will be richer when compensated with money, of course, but not necessarily happier when they realise they are stuck in a dead-end job.
5. Corporate culture
Due to the large amount of time they spend at work, many employees may place a strong and positive corporate culture high on their wishlist. More often than not, the senior management of an organisation is responsible for shaping and determining the company's culture, and their values, beliefs and vision will have a trickle-down effect on their staff.
A company with a top-down management approach will see its employees contributing only what they are told to do, as they are probably resigned to the fact that their opinions will not be valued anyway.
On the other hand, a more open and consultative culture encourages employee feedback and the sharing of ideas, and people are less afraid to take risks or make mistakes.
Some people may prefer to work in a bottom-line focused organisation, while others look for one that provides good work-life balance. Whichever culture you have decided to create for your company, it has to be one that people can thrive and interact in.
It may sound trivial, but one of the major complaints from employees during exit interviews is the lack of communication within the organisation.
Communication bridges the gap between the company and its employees. So it is extremely critical that the senior management of the organisation relays its vision, direction, plans and strategies to its staff on a regular basis.
Regular internal communication helps keep the staff updated on how the company is doing, its existing challenges and where it is heading. It allows the staff to understand the organisation's strengths and limitations better, and also gives them a sense of belonging and purpose as they envision themselves as being part of the organisation's larger objectives.
7. Social obligations
The topic of corporate social responsibility has emerged as a significant factor for people in recent years. A global study covering nearly 95,000 workers throughout the world recently confirmed that an employer's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now crucial to attracting and retaining its workforce.
As people become more aware of social and environmental issues, they feel an obligation to be responsible or, at the very least, want to belong to an organisation that takes responsibility for issues that may potentially have a huge impact on the world or society.
With the increased media attention and emphasis on such issues, employees have become more sensitised to an organisation's corporate behaviour. No one wants to be associated with a company that is being accused of using child labour, contributing to pollution, practising workplace discrimination or being negligent in its manufacturing practices.
A socially responsible employer will not only benefit from a highly positive branding and corporate reputation, the goodwill it builds with its robust corporate governance and activities can also attract, keep and develop human capital, keeping operations and staff morale high.
Not just the money
Today's employees no longer define money as the sole factor for job satisfaction and loyalty. They are also increasingly concerned with the people they work for and with, the company's environment and the level of staff engagement within the organisation.
Many people have begun to look beyond salary and benefits as the main motivators for taking flight, and are consistently placing more emphasis on the factors mentioned above as key criteria for a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Even in tough economic times, organisations need to recognise the incongruity between what they think employees want, and what people are really looking for.
Employees no longer just want a job; they are actively seeking a career that can satisfy not only their monetary demands, but their social and emotional needs as well. Companies that can balance these needs will set themselves apart as an employer of choice.