Give Them What They Want

As a recruiter, I have the unique perspective of hearing not only about what employees seek in the workplace, but also about what employers are looking for from successful employees.

Managing and directing a team of people is a large task that takes enormous time and energy from leaders and managers. At times the role of juggling the needs, feelings and actions of employees can be overwhelming. After talking with thousands of candidates I have found that there are some common themes about what they need to be happiest in the work place. These ideas are shared by those who are happily employed and those who are open to or seeking new opportunity.

Attention to the basics listed below can dramatically improve your employees’ morale as well as increasing your employee retention rate and therefore your company’s profit margins.

Here is the list of what I consistently hear that employees are looking for from their leadership.

1. Provide an explanation of the employees role, what they are supposed to do, and what the rules are. Don’t mistake this for micromanaging – rather its managing expectations. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines. Then, empower them to do what you’ve asked.

2. Hold everyone equally responsible for their actions. Often times I hear, “I wish my boss would tell Mike that this is just unacceptable.” Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone aware of what is and isn’t acceptable.

3. Keep them excited. Keep them excited about the company, about the service, about the job, or about a project. Let your positive energy rub off on them.

4. Don’t forget to recognize effort. Negative reinforcement is everywhere. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses. Make it a point to praise someone everyday. Employees begin to look elsewhere when they feel unappreciated.

5. Don’t disrespect an employee. Don’t lose your temper because your staff didn’t meet your expectations. It’s not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays. If you have to discipline someone that’s okay, but do it in a dignified manner.

6. Show leadership. Strong leaders impress those that work for them in a variety of ways. This can be through examples of sound management, whether you are a bold and courageous leader or your style is more of a visionary. Strong leaders bring strength to an organization by providing a characteristic that others don’t have and the company sorely needs.

7. Give me some space. Give them something interesting and challenging to work on. Trust them with opportunity and decisions. Encourage and be a part of their professional growth and development. You will be rewarded.

8. Put me in a position to win. Nobody wants to fail or perform poorly. Indecisive leaders keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly. These behaviors just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.

Your job is to make it practical for people to succeed. When you do this, everybody wins.

In the future I will share the common themes I hear from employers about what they seek from employees.

David Lammert

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