Ten Things that All Employees Want

We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to motivate or engage employees when the solutions have been around forever. The gap is application, not knowledge. This is not rocket science as it’s probably similar to what you want for your career:

  1. A fair day’s pay.
  2. A steady job.
  3. At a good company.
  4. With good co-workers.
  5. A boss that cares about them.
  6. A decent work environment.
  7. An opportunity to move ahead.
  8. Feeling like their work makes a difference.
  9. Providing financial security (benefits, 401K, etc.) for me and my family.
  10. A decent break from work!


  1. Do you know if you pay according to the market rate? The market defines a fair days pay. Once you pay that, money as a motivator falls sharply in the rankings.
  2. Is this a temporary need? Super high turnover? How do you make jobs like fast food, retail, call centers a “steady job”? Remember the formula and feel free to share it with your employees: Great work + great attitude + client need + steady cash flow = job security.
  3. Would employees define you as a good company? What do your surveys tell you? Or your Glassdoor ratings? What would it take to go from good to great?
  4. Are employees encouraged to play team? Do be supportive of each other? Do they seem to like hanging out with each other? Do they realize the place to compete is with the competition and not with each other?
  5. Are you a boss that shows you care? What is an example of an action you took recently to show somebody you care about them? And, no, writing the paycheck doesn’t count.
  6. What about the work environment? Is it visually appealing? Well ventilated and good lighting? See my Checklist for Great Office Design.
  7. Do employees know what they need to do to move up in their career? Do they have a plan for doing so? Here’s a good tool to start with http://www.careeronestop.org/competencymodel/careerpathway/cpwreviewsamplepaths.aspx
  8. Have you helped them discover how their works “makes a difference”? Once defined, then brand and reinforce it.
  9. You are not responsible for an employee’s finances…but it is wise to help employees better manage their finances. Many of my clients have brought in financial education whether from Dave Ramsey’s organization or otherwise. Financial peace supports productive behaviors.
  10. Last, make sure people take a break! Burnout only leads to resentment, lowered performance and family strife.

Like I said, not rocket science…but it is an enormous competitive advantage. Remember half of all companies do this better than the other half and the great ones do it better than 90% of their competition! What kind of company do you want to be?