What Do Employees Value in a Workplace?

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As a manager or business owner, it can be incredibly tempting to believe that you understand what your employees want from their workplace.  After all, deep down, we all want the same perks and benefits – right?

In fact, new research conducted by Mindflash suggests that employees and their managers may not all be on the same page when it comes to workplace satisfaction. In the employer survey component of this study, company owners organized the following ten workplace benefits in order of importance, based on what they believed employees wanted most from them:

  1. Good wages
  2. Job security
  3. Promotion/growth opportunities
  4. Good working conditions
  5. Interesting work
  6. Personal loyalty to workers
  7. Tactful discipline
  8. Full appreciation for work done
  9. Sympathetic help with personal problems
  10. Feeling “in” on things

Certainly, these are all great benefits – and the employers’ organization of each perk makes sense. Really, what kind of employee doesn’t value good wages, job security and promotion opportunities?

Well, as it turns out, employee participants in the same survey structured this list of workplace benefits completely differently when identifying the incentives they wanted most from their employers:

  1. Full appreciation for work done
  2. Feeling “in” on things
  3. Sympathetic help on personal problems
  4. Job security
  5. Good wages
  6. Interesting work
  7. Promotion/growth opportunities
  8. Personal loyalty to workers
  9. Good working conditions
  10. Tactful discipline

In many of the instances where these two lists failed to line up, discrepancies can be attributed to the perceived value of intangible benefits – like the feeling of being supported on the job. At least according to this survey, employees are often willing to compromise traditional workplace benefits in exchange for opportunities that make them feel like part of a team.

So, as a manager or business owner, what can you do to bring your workplace and management practices into closer alignment with these employee-preferred benefits? Consider implementing the following two strategies:

Show your gratitude regularly

Ironically, though most employers believe that compensation is at the top of employees’ minds, the one thing these workers desire most is something that doesn’t cost a penny!

According to Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a marketing professor at Golden Gate University as profiled by the Christian Science Monitor:

“[T]here is one huge factor that does not cost an employer money: praise. So many supervisors go out of their way to let employees know what they have done wrong, but don’t bother to congratulate and praise them for success. Praise does not cost anything to give, but its benefits on employee morale are priceless.”

There are a number of different ways you can show gratitude within your office environment:

  • Smile and say good morning to your employees – even if you’re pressed for time
  • Recognize at least one employee’s hard work at staff meetings
  • Hand-write notes of appreciation to employees who go above and beyond expectations
  • Personally thank team members who help you meet deadlines and complete important projects
  • Create personalized awards to recognize your most valuable employees

Obviously, you don’t need go overboard and thank employees for the smallest achievements.  Too much praise can seem disingenuous – and may be just as detrimental as too little appreciation. Instead, try to identify instances where such praise is warranted and make a commitment to making your appreciation known.

Make corporate information easily available

Employees who feel disconnected from the goings-on within your company are unlikely to experience significant on-the-job satisfaction – and with good reason!

Think back to high school and remember how it felt to be left out of social groups and activities (or, if you don’t have these memories to draw on, consider yourself lucky!). Nobody likes to feel ostracized or undervalued, but the reality is that many managers and business owners unknowingly create this type of environment by simply failing to provide employees with the information they want.

One way to correct a workplace that’s left too many people feeling out of the loop is to hold open “Q and A” sessions with your staff members. These can be done in-person or using digital solutions like Quandora – either way, the most important thing is to make it clear to your employees that no question is off-the-table, even if you aren’t able to answer fully due to legal or confidentiality reasons.

As you hold these sessions, be careful to avoid making employees feel silly for asking questions. Employees want to believe that they’re part of an organization that values their efforts, and they certainly won’t feel that way if they’re belittled for their interest in your company’s progress.

Respecting your employees’ commitment to your company and making an honest effort to provide workers with as much information as you can will go a long way towards boosting overall corporate morale – and all for a significantly lower cost than increasing salaries or benefits.


Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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