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Debunked: Learn What Today's Employees Want at Work – It is NOT more money!

Debunked What Employees want

Why should anyone work for you? Learning how to become the employer of choice can be challenging. Just like the baby boomers before, the younger workforce will have a significant impact on the workplace.  First, not all employees are the same, and many consider themselves different from each other.  With Gen Z entering the workforce, everything is more challenging. Following are quotes from today's younger employees:

 [Too many ugly labels have been placed on our generations; some seem contradictory. We are different, and our culture, values, backgrounds, and beliefs play a massive part in who we are. Wouldn't it be reasonable to say that everyone possesses some degree of each attribute?

"Our generation is viewed in this regard because we can speak our minds, be creative, understand what we want out of life and live life to the fullest."

"Everyone is different. Companies need to find individuals that will work to benefit the company."

"Most people in our generation act for the greater good yet are not recognized for that because our generation isn't known for being hard-working or compassionate." ]

Young workers are a challenge, and most companies are not ready.  The average company will evolve organically, while organizations on the "cutting edge" will utilize this time of change to create a competitive advantage.  Following are eight questions to ask about your organization:

  • What makes you different from any other company in your area?
  • Can you offer me something no other company competing for my talent can offer?
  • What will you do to keep me once I join your company?
  • Will you be able to hire other great people, or will I have to carry the load for underperformers?
  • Why should I work here if you will hire anyone who applies for a job?
  • Why should I stay here if you will not eliminate those who do not perform well?
  • Why should I stay here if another company offers me a little more money?
  • Do you place value on my life away from work?

Younger workers learned to speak their minds, be creative, and want the best in life.  If the job removes their quality of life, they will not tolerate it long.  Long hours with no end in sight will not attract the best.

Technology has been a part of their entire lives.  Attempts to limit access to technology without valid reasoning will not be attractive.  Additionally, organizations that look and feel old-fashioned will not retain employees with other options. To be credible in the minds of potential employees, your company must represent a modern approach to business.

Today's workforce needs to be praised and acknowledged for their work when they have earned it.  Organizations that do not train supervisors to give feedback (skills and techniques) will not keep the best. High performers thrive on the energy of great feedback.

Finally, people care about career development.  It just may not be with your company.  I once gave a speech, and while signing books, a twenty-seven-year-old engineer informed me that he had worked for three companies since graduating from college four years earlier.  Curiously, I asked him if he thought it was odd to change jobs so often.  His response was remarkable, "Why should I stay with one company when presented with a better opportunity – why hurt or limit myself?" 

The stigmas of loyalty and dependability by the standards of older generations are gone.  Employees do not like being judged as one group.  However, while stereotypes exist, we must adapt our organizations to become attractive to those with the most to offer.  Organizations that do not seek to improve will end up with employees without other options.  We call that the proverbial "Bottom of the Barrel."

Will more money help solve these problems? The short answer is a resounding no! According to Teamspire:

  • Money makes employees feel good, at least temporarily. However, that's not the solution for employee engagement. The problem of employee engagement is a deeper one. If it were so easy to solve the problem of employee engagement, the wealthiest companies would give away substantial financial rewards and make their employees perform at their optimal levels.
  • Money has an immediate impact. When you give the increase, everyone is pleased and on cloud nine! Cash is a commodity because it involves no emotions from either side. Motivating springing from emotional measures such as appreciation and recognition tends to last for a long time. A financial reward, hence, has a short-term impact.
  • A financial reward as a measure of employee motivation falls short of motivating and inspiring them to accomplish great things individually or for the collective goal of the business.

People want to work for a good boss who challenges and appreciates the work they perform. There is no shortcut or "hack" for employee retention and engagement. If your boss is a myopic jerk or an aloof recluse, the chance of a long tenure is unlikely. Higher purpose or even a great company culture gets short-circuited by lousy supervision. Teach your supervisors, replace your supervisors, or even the best cultures will suffer from unwanted turnover.

Will money keep employees
I have been in the construction industry for over 48 years and have seen trends of training, involvement, encouragement and money and as I have seen it, when it comes to construction people, money usually talks. HOWEVER, I have worked for companies that provided training for me, had events that involved my family, remembered birthdays and anniversaries and that went a long way for me to be loyal to the company, without raises and bonuses. I have always been a firm believer that if you treat your people right, they will treat you right and if you train them to do a better job, they will do it for you before they move to another company and do it, no matter what the pay. In most cases, we are all whores and will work for anyone who will pay us money and keep us busy.
(September 30, 2022 ~ 3:03 PM)
By Michael Patterson