“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” —Anne M. Mulcahy
By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
Why You Should Care
Why should you care about what your employees really want? As Anne M. Mulcahy stated, employees are more productive, satisfied, and fulfilled when they know you care. Studies show that 70% of employees do not feel engaged in their work. Research has shown that employees are more likely to leave their positions because of their boss than any other reason. Yet, employers tend to think that a much higher percentage of employees leave for more money than any other factor. Less than 25% of leaders have a strategy for engagement. Only 40% of employees feel they even know the goals and strategy of their organization. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their positions. Organizations with happy, engaged employees have two-and-a-half times the revenue and two times the net income of organizations with unhappy, disengaged employees.
The happiness and engagement of your employees affect your success and your bottom line. This should be reason enough for you to care. So, what do employees really want? I.C.E. is a good place to start.
Brian Eno suggested, “You either believe that people respond to authority, or that they respond to kindness and inclusion. I’m obviously in the latter camp. I think people respond better to reward than punishment.” Your employees want to be involved in something bigger than themselves. They want to know their company mission; they want to be able to tell the world what their company is up to; to be proud of where they work. Include employees in progress and strategy meetings. Encourage them to share the great things that are happening in the organization. Let them tell the story and be ambassadors for your brand.
Chris Hemsworth explained, “People who put themselves on the line and sacrifice their own safety for the greater good and for others, and anyone in any profession whose concern is the welfare for other people instead of the individual are inspiring and important.” It doesn’t matter your position or industry, you can always put your people before yourself. Let them know that you care. Your employees want a leader who provides them with concern for the greater good, empowerment, honesty, accountability, respect, and authenticity. Show them that you have concern for their growth and capability; recognize what they’re capable of and empower them to reach their full potential. Care for them as a person, not just an employee.
Gary Hamel believed, “The real damper on employee engagement is the soggy, cold blanket of centralized authority. In most companies, power cascades downwards from the CEO. Not only are employees disenfranchised from most policy decisions, they lack even the power to rebel against egocentric and tyrannical supervisors.” Employees want opportunities, responsibilities, and tasks that are directly related to achieving the goals and mission of the organization they work for. When employees are engaged they are more satisfied and create more value for the company. They want to be challenged and empowered to design their own tasks. When you engage your employees they will be more committed to accomplishing something valuable not only for the company, but for themselves, and their community.
Make it Happen
Ian Smith said, “I think happiness is a combination of pleasure, engagement, and meaningfulness.” Include your employees by sharing where the organization is, where it is going, and allow them to help design how to get there. Demonstrate genuine interest and concern for your employees as individuals. Show them that you care about them on a personal level, not just as an employee. Make sure they can see that you are looking out for their best interests before your own. Engage them in meaningful work that they find interesting and rewarding. Giving employees what they really want using I.C.E. is a simple step that will provide lasting reward.
© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli
Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.