May 12 2021

10 things your employees want but don’t always ask for

If your employees aren’t engaged, work can become a drag. Employees become negative and morale plummets. You probably already know that increasing employee engagement will positively impact your employees and your business.

The key to all this? Simple. Give your employees what they want. Start your journey to workplace happiness.

There are some employers out there who aren’t focused on employee engagement. Instead they’re focused on the bottom line.

Unfortunately, they become so blinkered that they fail to see that caring about their people would take care of their bottom line too. Rather than making efforts to engage their employees, they can’t escape the thought pattern that: “Employees don’t care about the business so why should I care about them?” 

From here it’s a slippery slope. Employees realise when their employer doesn’t care about their wellbeing.

Firstly, their productivity levels fall. Next, they begin thinking about leaving the company. After all, who wants to work in an unhappy workplace? But worst of all, employees become stressed when their employers don’t take care of their wellbeing.

Stressed employees are a big problem, but one that can be easily addressed. 

While some employees may never care about a business quite as much as you, you are only making matters worse by not trying to engage them. It all comes down to your organisational culture. Getting this right means that you give your employees what they care about, when they need it. 

Engaged employees are happy employees who are:

  • More likely to stay longer 
  • Show increased productivity and enthusiasm 
  • More inspired and creative, producing better results
  • Appreciated by customers who are more likely to stay with your business 

So, how do you take your employees on a journey to workplace happiness and engagement? Let’s have a look at what really matters to your employees and what steps you should be taking to give them what they need.  

1. A fair salary 

Your employees are looking for fair levels of pay. As obvious as it sounds, not all businesses give this any attention. It’s still common for companies to advertise low starting salaries. But even if they don’t, there are often limited opportunities for employees to get a salary increase.

Offering fair pay shows that you value your employees and this can have a positive impact on loyalty and retention.

Importantly, awarding a salary increase can save you money in the long run. How much does it cost to recruit because employee turnover levels remain high? Far more than the cost of paying an attractive salary from the get-go. 

It’s not all about money though. An employment preferences study in 2014 involving 200,000 respondents revealed that an attractive salary scored 8 out of 10 when it came to what brings employees happiness.

So we need to do much more than simply offer a good salary.  

2. Valuable benefits

As the study shows, it’s not all about money. Employees need much more to make them feel valued and cared for, which is where benefits come in.

Showing consideration for your employees’ wellbeing at work and allowing this to cross over into their personal life can pay real dividends to your company. There is strong evidence that shows that an employee’s personal life, and any struggles they are facing, can impact their work.

Luckily, you can find a whole range of benefits that are designed to support employees in all aspects of life. To give employees a better work-life balance, why not consider:

  • Offering flexitime
  • Allowing employees to earn extra holiday days
  • Providing health and/or dental cover
  • Offering pay on-demand to reduce financial stress 

3. To be treated fairly and respectfully

Above financial rewards, employees want to feel that they are treated fairly. They know the rules and they know the targets, but they want to be treated like a human being!

Setting over-ambitious targets in the hope that your team will over-perform is a recipe for disaster. But if you set fair targets you’ll get your employees on board.

Remove any pressures that build up over time. Forget reducing lunch breaks to get the job done. Show you care and your employees will find their own way to deliver for you. 

4. Time to chat

Yes, the workplace is a busy environment. Yes, there is a job to be done and set time frames, but taking 5 minutes can sometimes make the world of difference.

A simple question asking about a colleague’s day off can make your employees feel that you care. Of course, asking the question is not enough on its own. You need to be prepared to actually listen to the response and engage.

If you’re seeking employee engagement then ensure that you are making the time to engage with them too. 

5. Help to boost financial wellbeing

The chances are that your employees are struggling financially and you don’t even know it. 37% of workers in Britain reported having money worries in the run up to payday.

A further survey shows that when it comes to financial wellbeing, only 3% of employees feel comfortable approaching HR about financial concerns.

A change in organisational culture can show your staff that you are approachable and offering solutions can highlight that you care.

37% are stressed about money in the run up to payday

6. Genuine training provision

When looking at employee wellbeing at work, the usual training offerings are fairly transparent. Employees appreciate the need for health and safety training, but it’s not going to excite them. What about offering something more?

A great way of increasing employee happiness and employee retention is by training them. As a minimum, make sure that your employees are trained to do their jobs. Even better, provide training so your employees are prepared to make the next move in their careers.

While in-person training courses are on the decline, online courses are on the up. Learning and development allowances are a great way to empower your employees to access valuable training resources.

As well as meeting your employees’ needs, you’re also putting succession plans in place. This can only be a positive for the business as a whole. 

7. Opportunities to progress

Following on from training, employees want a clear career path. Not all members of staff are going to be ambitious. But those that are ambitious need to know the steps they need to take to progress.

They also want to feel supported on their journey to get there. Failing to recognise talent or take ownership of leadership development will result in your top talent leaving.

Employee turnover levels skyrocket as your best and brightest head to your competitors. 

8. To feel part of something

Employees are not all about themselves! For many, there is a genuine desire to feel that the organisation that they are working for is part of something bigger. They want to see their employer promoting social good and embracing the bigger picture. This is the case even more so with Generation Z.

To secure their loyalty and increase their happiness, show your employees that they are working for a company that matters. The buzz they get from doing social good and supporting environmental issues can often outweigh a large pay packet at the end of the month. 

9. Development opportunities 

Workplaces of the past were very different in many ways. Today’s employees have much higher expectations than back in the day (and this is a good thing). In some companies, the organisational culture still resembles something that has failed to move on.

Making the right choices when it comes to leadership development and hires can make a profound and positive difference on organisational culture.

It ensures that your future leaders embrace the organisational culture that you are striving to achieve. One where employee engagement and concern for wellbeing at work matter just as much as profit. 

10. Praise and rewards

We all have that little something in us and we all need that bit of recognition.

Your employees are no different when it comes to this. It’s too easy during times of stress to gloss over what your employees have just delivered.

It’s common for employers to take for granted the standard of work that your employees have just delivered. Even when work is busy and the pressure is rising, a simple ‘thank you’ or a ‘well done’ can have a profound effect.

It’s not all about bonus payments or pay rises; simple acknowledgement can work wonders when it comes to promoting loyalty and productivity. 

Final thoughts

To create a culture where employees feel valued and cared for, employers need only take some basic steps. By taking the time to consider your employees’ wellbeing at work you can have a dramatic impact upon their productivity and their loyalty. 

The key point to remember though is that every employee is different. You probably have employees with families and children. They’re likely to react positively to the offer of flexitime and holidays.

Often, time is more important than money when it comes to family. For others, they need guidance and help with their financial wellbeing. Being able to offer this can show these employees that you care and it is not all about the bottom line.

How Openwage can help

Here at Openwage, we know what makes employees tick and what promotes engagement and loyalty. We’re on a mission to actively support employers that are on their way to achieving workplace wellbeing for all their employees.

We can help you support your employees with their financial wellbeing. 

If you’d like to see how Openwage can help you to boost productivity, increase employee retention, and reduce absenteeism, get in touch today.

Our team will be happy to explain how what we offer aims to boost the morale and happiness levels of your workforce. After all, your workforce is the driving force behind your business.

Keep your employees engaged and the results you want will naturally follow.