What Employees Want Most
Of all the things you can offer employees to attract or retain them, which is the most critical do you think? Money? Healthcare and other benefits? Perks? Ability to work away from the office? Better work/life balance? A nicer office? Opportunity for promotion? Financial management and retirement planning? Your job? The answer is, none of the above.
True, employees want all these things (well, maybe not your job) to greater or lesser degrees depending on their needs and aspirations. But what employees want most, what keeps them coming into the office everyday, what earns their loyalty to the firm and makes them willing to go the extra mile when needed is meaningful work. Especially now as the industry nears full employment, many candidates will choose to work at a firm they believe is doing purposeful projects and where they see they can make a real and direct contribution, even if it means taking a lower compensation package. And current employees who feel like drudges will begin to eye opportunities elsewhere.
What is meaningful work will vary somewhat among employees as well. Supervisors and managers should get to know what motivates their staff and tap into skills and talents that may not apply to their current position or duties. Give them outlets to be creative, innovative and inspirational. Allow them to demonstrate their leadership and problem solving abilities. Provide them with the big picture of what is going on in the firm and give regular updates so they can connect the dots between what they are doing and what the firm is accomplishing. And give them lots of encouragement and constructive feedback to help become better professionals.
To maximize what you invest in employees financially, invest in them as earnest, purposeful professionals who want to apply themselves to meaningful work to the best of their ability. You, your clients, and everyone else in the firm will benefit, and that’s good for business and the bottom line.