« Instilling civility in the workforce of the future | Main | Do you have annoying habits that are labeled uncivil by your coworkers? »

The seven key needs of employees

In the ‘Do you want your boss to be your friend?’ entry for July 13, I mentioned Terry Bacon, an expert in talent management, who has surveyed workers worldwide to determine what matters most for them to be engaged at work. Bacon wrote an article for a human resources newsletter on the topic. This is excerpted from that newsletter:
1. Trust. When organizations trust employees, people behave ethically, are better stewards of the company’s resources, are more committed, provide better customer service and are more satisfied overall. Companies need policies that prove trust such as flex-time.
2. Challenge. Employees want to feel challenged, to feel they are learning and growing on the job. The best employees become bored and eventually leave if they are not challenged.
3. Competence. The workers who feel competent and skilled work harder, do better and are more creative. Every employee should have a professional development plan.
4. Self-esteem. Companies that successfully create a climate of high self-esteem treat employees in a respectful manner. They ensure that managers are courteous, listen to employees, value real contributions and recognize and reward people.
5. Excitement. Employees need interesting and challenging work. People who are engaged and energized are more committed, resourceful, creative and productive.
6. Involvement. Top companies and managers learn what individual employees feel passionate about and find ways to give them related assignments.
7. Appreciation. Many companies don’t understand the importance of formal and informal recognition and the role of managers in showing appreciation on both levels.

High-performance and high-potential employees leave
Bacon writes that high-performance and high-potential employees leave or refuse to join an organization for lack of opportunity, lack of recognition and not understanding what people really want in the workplace.

This I believe
Your skills and unique personal attributes are your responsibility. Be proactive, creative and in perpetual motion working on your professional goals. It’s your career path. For example
• Be trustworthy and conscientious about your use of your time at work, your expenses, your organization’s resources. It’s a lot about being honest. Trust creates trust.
• Ask for different assignments and volunteer for new assignments. Creativity and flexibility are valued in the knowledge economy, in this job or the next.
• Learn at work and outside of work. Read, listen to books on CD on commutes or trips. Take advantage of lectures and seminars; many are free. If they are during work hours, explain how they’ll improve your skills or knowledge and ask to attend. If you work for cooperative extension anywhere in the United States, eXtension has 30 minute professional development sessions, often on social networking topics. (If I can understand these topics, you can too.) See http://about.extension.org/
• Be civil and promote civility.

The article by Terry Bacon, Retain valuable employees by acknowledging what they really need, http://www.lorenet.com/assets/Press/HRMN_643-06.pdf


I believe the two most important employee needs listed above are trust and appreciation. If you can trust your fellow co-worker to do what he/she says she will, then work/projects will get done! Also, trusting co-workers not to gossip or start rumors about people in the office will contribute to a healthy work place.
If appreciation is shown to employees, then self-esteem issues, excitement in your job, and involvement will just naturally happen. Everyone likes to be told they are appreciated or given thanks for a job well done! A pat on the back now and then can make a world of difference to someone in the work place!

I think there is a delicate balance between collegiality and making your workplace your adjunct family. I'm not sure what the right balance is... but maybe you will run across something in your reading.

If a #8 were to be added I'd want for a good system of work. This affects: 3-competence, 6-involvement, and 7-appreciation.

Without a good system or flow (meaning where does work come in? who is assigned? how is it tracked/billed? is this all consistent from desk to desk? etc) it can frustrate good employees and lessen them to " who cares if no one else does" employees.

Those seven work for me, but they leave out the money -- or maybe that's part of 'showing appreciation.'

Something else I require is respect (although it's touched on under self esteem). Colleagues (and managers) who talk to me at my cubicle while biting an apple, slurping their coffee or eating their lunch do not show respect. Colleagues who spend 10 to 15 minutes in loud conversation on the phone in our cubicle land (whether it's work-related or personal) do not show respect. Colleagues who incessantly nibble on treats with their fingers rattling their cellophane baggies do not show respect. And those who must carry on conversations in the break room with their mouths filled with food do not show respect. Common courtesy from fellow employees is real high on my list of workplace needs.

Oh those habits that irritate. Top on my list right now is the use of cell phones. When will we get over the need to constantly be attached to the phone? I don't like phones ringing during a meeting and even worse is when a person answers the phone and continues to talk in a normal voice right at the table. These habits carry over to restaurants, stores, bathrooms, etc. I find myself reacting by carrying on a conversation in a louder than necessary voice just to drown out the phone conversation!!